updated 02:55 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
DCM A-Fund giving 100m cash to Android services
Venture capitalists at DCM on Thursday unveiled an Android equivalent to the well-known iFund. A-Fund will give startups and other companies a total pool of $100 million to support apps, hardware, and services for Android. The funding will get help from Japanese carrier KDDI, local social network GREE, and Tencent, the founder of Chinese portal QQ.
Although not limited to anyone area, DCM general partner David Chao explained that the A-Fund was meant for areas such as China and Japan, where Android is growing. It would also focus on addressing the lack of media and tablet apps that have been sore points for Android. Companies wouldn't have to be exclusive to Android, though the focus would be on those who consider it a main priority or who are doing something Apple's iOS app policies wouldn't allow.
The first two investments are already near finalizing.
Android Market has quickly grown to be the second most popular mobile app store with about 150,000 apps and three billion app installs so far, but its growth has mostly cooled down and stayed behind with that of Apple's 350,000-plus App Store count. Among the challenges have been simple discovery of apps but also a greater amount of piracy and malware, the combination of which has discouraged some developers. A financial boost may help fuel professional-level content and could also lead to phones and tablets that address the needs of specific countries that might otherwise be excluded.
The concept has been successful in the past. KPCB's iFund helped fuel companies like Rolando creator ngmoco and spurred on the early iPhone app market. [via AllThingsD]