Apportable Gains Momentum with $2.4 Million in Seed Funding-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Apportable Gains Momentum with $2.4 Million in Seed Funding

Apportable, one of several startup companies that began at Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus (CMU-SV), is making headlines with its latest projects and future plans. Specializing in translating mobile apps written for Apple's iOS platform to the Android platform, Apportable was founded by Dr. Collin Jackson, an Assistant Research Professor at CMU-SV. The company recently announced it had raised $2.4 million in seed funding to boost products and services.

Funding was led by Google Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Google Inc, which develops Android. News of the investment — and a high profile app launch for music icon Björk — earned Apportable a writeup in the Wall Street Journal on July 17.

The idea for Apportable began in 2011, as Jackson was browsing the Android Market and missing many of the apps and games he was using on his iPhone. "All these Android users were missing out on great new content coming out for iOS devices," he said. He and co-founder Ian Fischer created a company to develop technology to automate the conversion between systems.

Android is the most used mobile OS globally, so "developers wanted to have Android apps," Jackson explained. Rewriting code can be a long and expensive process, which Apportable mostly eliminates. Developers can cross-compile code originally written for iOS, allowing apps to run on Android devices and be accessible to many more potential users.

Chinmay Garde, a 2012 graduate of the MS Information Technology program, began working with Jackson as a student, on a practicum sponsored by Apportable. After an internship, he joined the engineering team, working on the UI framework that connects iOS and Android.

At a startup, Garde said, the team is constantly working at every level of the business, even if it's not their area of expertise. "You have to pick up new things every day. There's no one you can go to and say ‘fix this for me,' but you can say ‘can you help me fix this."

Garde started the MSIT program at CMU's main campus in Pittsburgh, but finishing his degree in Silicon Valley was "the best of both worlds," he said. The location in Silicon Valley meant exposure to expert faculty and dynamic Bay Area companies - like Jackson and Apportable.

Jackson's research with CMU's Cylab and Information Networking Institute (INI) centers on browser security, mobile technology and web applications. He continues to work with students at the Silicon Valley campus, but he's currently on leave to serve full time as Apportable's CEO.

"We're just scratching the surface of cross platform mobile development tools," Jackson explained. Their current customers are heavily focused on games, but future plans include expansion into other app categories.

Sean Xiao, a CMU-SV student in the 2013 class of the MS Software Engineering Tech program, will be joining Apportable this fall. Jackson was the advisor in his capstone course, and Xiao was excited to learn about the opportunities at the growing startup. 

"The team members are really smart, talented programmers, with lots of experience to share," Xiao said. Having worked in large companies, he's eager to gain experience in a smaller environment, and with his CMU degree, he says he's ready to handle anything they need him to do at Apportable. 



PHOTO CREDITS: Christina Vo (left), Adam Hunter (right)