Alms is a social app focused on real-world impact and positive change

A number of startups are experimenting with what a better social app could look like. For a startup called Alms, the answer is a social network that focuses on users’ well-being through participation in creator-led challenges in areas like personal growth, sustainability, and others with positive impacts. Instead of driving the collection “likes,” as on other social apps, Alms aims to encourage real-world engagement through its challenges and the specific steps and actions that must be taken.

The idea, explains Alms founder Alexander Nevedovsky, is to design an app that guides users to a happier and more meaningful life when they use it. That’s something modern social platforms can’t really promise to do.

Work on the project began during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Nevedovsky says.

“A lot of us were feeling depressed and sad, at home without much access to friends and family,” he explains. “I felt like the world really needed something that’s a bit more than just meditation, journaling, or mood tracking — all those apps and techniques are great, but they’re not designed to improve your life on a day-to-day basis, interacting in the real world.”

However, the original version of Alms released last year was lacking something that would make the app “sticky.” Users would sign up because they liked the concept, but at some point would drop out and stop participating in the activities. The startup knew it needed something more to tie users to their journeys, which is why it has now shifted to become more of a social community.

Image Credits: Alms

When you first launch the newly designed Alms app, you’re taken through a brief onboarding process where you select your interests from three main topical areas: personal growth, sustainability, and impact. For example, “personal growth” interests may include things like mental health, wellness, spirituality, or relationships. “Sustainability” focuses on interests related to the environment and nature. And “impact” would wrap in things like activism, volunteering, local community, and more.

After setup is complete, you can follow creators who post challenges or choose to join individual challenges, each with their own set of steps that have to be taken in order to fully complete them. For instance, in a challenge focused on improving your work-from-home lifestyle, the steps guide users to take steps to improve their workspace and their work-life balance (by scheduling breaks and hard stops to their day, e.g.), and asks them to add physical activity to their routines, among other concrete actions.

As you participate in a challenge by completing and checking off each step, you’re prompted to post a story about that step in that challenge’s feed to inspire others, who may add an encouraging comment. But gathering likes and comments is not Alms’ goal, says Nevedovsky.

“We see tremendous possibility in allowing more and more people with expertise in these topics — personal growth, sustainability, and impact of various sorts — to basically try to scale their impact with us,” he notes. “We allow them to put all their knowledge or their content in a scalable way so that people can actually — not like it, not comment under it — but actually try to repeat it.”

At launch, Alms has around 30 creators sharing their content in the form of challenges on its app, and 15 more are in the pipeline. It hopes to reach a couple of hundred over the next few months. So far, the new version of the app has attracted a couple of thousand users, as well.

Image Credits: Alms

Many of the challenges on the app have been joined by hundreds of users, so you do feel some sense of participating in a larger event when you click to join. However, I’d personally prefer that posting a story and sharing it to the feed was optional — not every step deserves its own post, I feel. (And sometimes, you may not have anything to say about the minor steps you completed and end up feeling like you’ve cluttered the feed with less-than-helpful posts.)

Alms was co-founded with startup studio Palta, a home to apps like Flo.Health, Simple Fasting, and Zing Fitness Coach. Palta owns a majority stake in Alms, and the company has no other outside investment. A remotely distributed team of fourteen works on the Alms app, which isn’t currently monetized.

Nevedovsky says the team is considering adding some sort of token-based economy or perhaps a DAO which would convey some sort of real-world rewards. This could include being able to participate in Alms’ governance or joining a creator fund, for example. The tokens, at least in the near term, would not be tradeable. The company may also consider simpler ideas, like in-app tipping. But nothing has yet been determined as Alms is still working on product-market fit at this time, and scaling its userbase.

Overall, Alms seems like it could appeal to those who want to be more mindful and impactful about how they’re spending their time on social apps, but who are in search of inspiration that comes with more specific direction.

“I think, a lot of the time, people place hopes on what will happen in the future without actually influencing it. So I think that having an app that helps you with ideas and inspiration from people who know what they share, what they recommend, is super helpful — especially when it’s all about support,” notes Nevedovsky. “People [on Alms] actually care.”

The app, we found, is well-built and attractively designed. But it could still face the original issue of having users drop off, despite its new social components, given the competition for screen time on today’s mobile devices.

Alms is a free download on iOS only for the time being.

Jack is leaving Twitter and we have ~thoughts~

Well, so much for a relaxed post-holiday week on Monday.

News broke this morning that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down from the company entirely. The company’s CTO, Parag Agrawal, will be taking over at the helm. Saleforce exec Bret Taylor will take over as board chairman.

So, Amanda and Natasha and Alex jumped into onto the mics — and, ironically, a Twitter space — to riff on all things Jack and future of Twitter. From the show:

  • Crypto and the CTO, what can we read from the tea leaves?
  • Jack’s dual role, and its detractors.
  • The fact that Twitter’s product work has been great lately, which we don’t want to stop. When is a good time to leave a company, is it on the up and up or when things are quiet?
  • And, finally, Jack’s somewhat biting words regarding founder-led companies, which are, frankly, a bit at odds with his own behavior until now.

The show is back on Wednesday, unless some other major CEO resigns.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Quick-commerce startup YallaMarket eyes Saudi Arabia and Qatar next year after U.A.E expansion

YallaMarket, a Dubai-based quick-commerce startup, is planning to expand within the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), and to enter Saudi Arabia and Qatar next year, to tap the appetite for speedy and convenient grocery shopping.

The startup, which was formally launched last month, is expanding in the U.A.E cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai by setting up an additional 100 dark stores to offer 15-minute delivery services. Dark stores are order fulfillment centers for online retail outlets. These stores are inaccessible to customers but serve the important role of rapid order fulfillment. YallaMarket has two dark stores that are currently operational with plans to open two more in the next two weeks.

The instant delivery service will use the $2.3 million it has raised in the pre-seed round to fund expansion within the U.A.E. The round was co-led by Dubai Angel Investors and Wamda Capital, with the participation of a number of angel investors that focus on the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA). YallaMarket is planning to launch the production of ready-to-eat meals that will be available to order via the app, in the near future too.

The startup was founded by Dubai-based Russian entrepreneurs Leonid Dovbenko and Stanislav Seleznev, also founders of restaurant automatization services DocsinBox and Tawreed.

“We plan to use the majority of newly secured funding to boost our growth. The MENA region is actively developing…Our goal is to cover as much territory by on-demand fast delivery as possible,” said co-founder Dovbenko, who is also CEO of iiko Middle East, a cloud-based POS for restaurants.

The startup’s dark stores are located in residential areas that make it possible for delivery persons to collect orders within three minutes after purchase, and to deliver to several households on each trip. The company has its own delivery unit that uses e-scooters and bicycles. The average order of everyday goods bought through YallaMarket is $15 (55AED), with fruits, dairy and drinks leading in popularity.

YallaMarket makes a profit on each item it sells as it sources its inventory directly from brands or through large distributors.

“We see that the level of development of the e-grocery in the UAE is far from Russia, where express delivery services have achieved incredible success. Over the past few years, it has become clear that the dark-store model is supposed to replace classic convenience stores,” said Dovbenko.

As it gains more data on user habits, YallaMarket is now investing in product development by implementing a “behavior prediction system” to customize user experiences and offers based on their preferences to reduce the time spent when making orders.

The concept of the instant delivery business model (quick commerce) grew exponentially last year as the pandemic fueled the adoption of online grocery shopping according to a Coresight Research report. The report says that “permanent gains” are expected as consumers continue shopping online even after the pandemic.

Fast and reliable delivery and availability continue to be some of the most important factors when shopping online, as noted by a majority of consumers surveyed in a recent PwC study. The study expects online shopping to continue to gain ground as people continue to work from home, and as they adopt new habits like shopping online. The report ranked grocery spending as the category which consumers expect their spending to increase followed by takeaway food.

Balance and Pokémon UNITE top Google Play’s ‘Best of 2021’ Awards

Google today announced the winners of its “Best of 2021” app awards, which highlight both the company’s and users’ picks for the best apps and games from the past year. This year, Google is expanding its awards lineup to include apps and games on tablets, Wear OS and Google TV, it says. Its U.S. winners included meditation app Balance as its app of the year and top game Pokémon UNITE. Meanwhile, Paramount+ and Garena Free Fire MAX won the user’s choice awards.

In 2020, the award winners had reflected a world undergoing a pandemic, where stressed users had turned to apps and soothing games to relax — like top sleep app Loóna, which was last year’s “Best App,” or escapist games like winner Genshin Impact.

With the early days of the pandemic now behind us, some of this year’s award winners are apps that now focus on personal growth and creativity, instead of just relaxing or escaping. This, too, seems to reflect where we are as a society. Over this past year, we saw the “great resignation” where U.S. employees voluntarily quit their unfulfilling, underpaid jobs in search of something better, and the creator economy began to boom as people pursued their passions.

In addition to Best of 2021 app Balance, which offers personalized meditation, other personal development-styled winners include Moonly, an app for “harmonizing your life” with the lunar calendar; a “comedic relaxation” app, Laughscape; a hypnotherapy app for women, Clementine; better sleep app Sleep Cycle; mentorship community Mentor Spaces; habit tracker and planner Rabit; and an app for navigating grief from loss, Empathy.

Other winners showcased how we adapted to pandemic life, as with audio chatroom Clubhouse, tools for reducing screen time, like Speechify, or those for reconnecting with nature, like Blossom.

In addition to winner Balance, the full lineup of app winners includes the following:

Best Apps for Good 

Best Everyday Essentials 

Best for Fun 

Best Hidden Gems

Best for Personal Growth 

Best for Tablets  

Best for Wear 

Popular on Google TV

The year’s best games were led by top game Pokémon UNITE, which focused on cross-platform gaming.

“Pokémon Unite is Pokémon’s first strategic team battle game, co-developed by The Pokémon Company and TiMi Studio Group. We tried to distill the best parts of the MOBA genre to create a new kind of game, but I must admit that I was unsure if it would be well received by players around the world,” noted Masaaki Hoshino, Producer, Pokémon UNITE, in a statement. T”his award shows that our game has been positively received by fans and the media, and while this is a great relief, at the same time it reaffirms our determination to continue doing our best to make Pokémon UNITE an even more exciting experience that meets our players’ expectations,” he added.

The larger lineup also included indie experiences like the introspective Bird Alone, which challenges you to become friends with the “loneliest bird in the world.” Annapurna Interactive’s Donut County won for its physics-based puzzle game, among others.

The full list of game winners included:

Best Competitive 

Best Game Changers

Best Indies 

Best Pick Up & Play

Best for Tablets

Each country will have its own list of winning apps and games which can be found in the new Best of 2021 section of the Play Store. The above are Google Play’s U.S. winners.

Spotify tests a TikTok-like vertical video feed in its app

TikTok has seen its short-form video feed copied by a host of competitors, from Instagram to Snap to YouTube and even Netflix. Now it looks like you can add Spotify to that list. The company has confirmed it’s currently testing a new feature in its app, Discover, which presents a vertical feed of music videos that users can scroll through and optionally like or skip. For those who have access to the feature, it appears as a fourth tab in the navigation bar at the bottom of the Spotify app, in between Home and Search.

The new addition was first spotted by Chris Messina, who tweeted out a video of the Discover feature in action. He described it as a “pared-down version” of a TikTok-style feed of music videos.

Messina told us he found the feature in Spotify’s TestFlight build (a beta version for iOS), where a new icon in the navigation toolbar brings you immediately to the video feed when tapped. You can then swipe up and down to move through the feed, much like you would on TikTok. In addition to tapping the heart to like songs, you also can tap the three-dot menu to bring up the standard song information sheet, he notes.

Messina also speculated the feature may be taking advantage of Spotify’s existing Canvas format.

Introduced broadly in 2019, Canvas allows artists to create videos that accompany their music on the Spotify app. The feature had mixed reviews from users, as some reported they preferred to see just the static album art when listening to music and found the video and its looping imagery distracting. But others said they liked it. Canvas, however, appears to drive the engagement metrics that Spotify wants — the company reports that users are more likely to keep streaming, share tracks or save tracks when they see a Canvas.

From the video Messina shared and others we viewed, we can confirm that the videos playing in the vertical feed are the artists’ existing Canvas videos. But Spotify would not confirm this to us directly.

TechCrunch asked Spotify for further information on the feature, including whether it had plans to roll this out further, whether it was available on both iOS and Android, which markets had access to the feature and more. The company declined to share any details about the feature but did confirm, via a statement, it was exploring the idea of a vertical video feed.

“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We don’t have any further news to share at this time,” they added.

In other words, the test is still very early and may not make its way to the public. But if it did, it wouldn’t be a surprising move on Spotify’s part. The company has before looked to popular social media formats to engage its users. In the past, Spotify tested a Stories feature that allowed influencers to post Stories to introduce their own, curated playlists. But that option never became available to all Spotify users.

While the TikTok format has been adopted by top social platforms, including Instagram (Reels), Snapchat (Spotlight), YouTube (Shorts) and Pinterest (Idea Pins), it’s also proving to be an ideal format for content discovery. Netflix, for instance, recently adopted the short-form vertical video feed in its own app with the launch of its “Fast Laughs” feature, which offers clips from its content library and tools to save the programs to a watch list or just start streaming them. Similarly, Spotify’s video-based Discover feature could help introduce users to new music and offer a way to signal their interests to Spotify in a familiar format.

Fairphone hits software support longevity akin to Apple’s iPhone

Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise dedicated to making consumer electronics (more) sustainable and ethical, including by supporting repairability so that users can hold onto their hardware for longer, has announced public testing of Android 10 for the six-year-old Fairphone 2.

Owners of the modular handset that was first released back in 2015, running Android 5, should expect to be able to upgrade to Android 10 (released date: 2019) in early 2022, Fairphone said today, announcing the beta rollout of the upgrade.

Fairphone stopped producing (but not supporting) the Fairphone 2 back in 2018 — going on to release the Fairphone 3 (in 2019); the Fairphone 3+ (in 2020; also available as a modular upgrade to the 3); and, earlier this fall, the Fairphone 4, its first 5G handset — which it said would be supported until at least 2025.

Given the Fairphone 2’s impending update to Android 10 next year — which will mean it will have been supported for a total of seven years — 2025 looks like a conservative estimate of how long Fairphone 4 owners should expect to receive software support.

Fairphone says it collaborated with its community of users for the Android 10 upgrade project — and with a software developer in India, Bharath Ravi Prakash, which it says worked as a volunteer open source dev — and by doing that says it was able to streamline the process and shrink the time required to carry out the upgrade.

So while the prior Fairphone 2 OS update (to Android 9) took 18 months, this time the process has been condensed to 10 months.

Google, meanwhile, has gone on to release Android 11 (2020) and Android 12 (last month) — for a sense of how far behind the Fairphone 2 upgrades are trailing the latest OS release.

“The company learned a lot from the Android 9 upgrade and although still complex, Android 10 was more predictable than Android 9,” Fairphone notes in a press release which also quotes its head of software longevity & IT, Agnes Crepet, who writes: “Our unique approach to software has allowed us to help our users keep their devices for as long as possible. We’re pleased to be able to provide our Fairphone 2 community with yet another software upgrade, reaching our goal to provide at least five years of support from launch for our phones and with the Android 10 upgrade, we’re going beyond that to seven years of support. We are constantly raising the bar for ourselves and the industry, showing that doing things more sustainably in software is possible.”

Seven years’ support puts Fairphone into Apple iPhone software support timespans. But of course the average Android-based handset can expect fair fewer years of software love — typically Android smartphones only get around three years’ support. So it’s a major achievement.

And while Fairphone may only now be catching up to Apple on the software longevity front it is already years ahead of Cupertino in another respect: Hardware sustainability through repairability via modular construction and offering direct-to-consumer spare parts.

Earlier this month Apple announced that, starting next year, it would kick off a ‘Self Service Repair’ program — shipping spare parts and repair tools to iPhone and Mac users to let them perform basic repairs at home.

It’s by no means full modularity from the company that has — historically — loved a hermetically sealed, stupidly thin, often literally glued shut box but it is a small step in a more sustainable direction. And one that Fairphone has long pioneered.

Afterpay unveils BNPL subscription offering for US customers

“Buy now, pay later” company Afterpay announced Wednesday that it was going after the $1.5 trillion global subscription payments market by offering to its U.S. customers payment installments for subscriptions, like gym memberships, entertainment subscriptions and online services.

The service will launch in both the U.S. and Australia beginning early in 2022 and will be free for customers who pay on time. IPSY, BoxyCharm, Savage X Fenty and Fabletics are among the initial list of merchants that will offer the feature. The company plans to expand the feature in-store and into other regions later, including Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and Europe.

In addition to paying for subscriptions in installments, Afterpay is also enabling its offering to be used on preordered items, where users can pay in four installments over time once the item ships. Another feature coming soon will allow merchants to accept deposits on custom items.

“By offering customers the option to pay for subscriptions with Afterpay, we’re not only giving consumers flexibility to pay for more expensive monthly costs, but we’re also helping our merchant partners capture a wider consumer base through this convenient experience,” said Zahir Khoja, general manager of North America for Afterpay, in a written statement.

Klarna, Afterpay’s competitor in the BNPL space, also announced news this week for its U.S. customers that it was offering its “Pay Now” option.

Meanwhile, in August, Square announced that it was buying Afterpay in an all-stock deal valued at $29 billion. Afterpay has also been on a roll with feature debuts recently, launching both Afterpay Ads, a suite of advertising products for brands to engage with shoppers within the ecosystem, and merchant analytics tool Afterpay IQ, in August.

Afterpay works with 100,000 retailers and has approximately 10.5 million active customers in North America as of June 30, up from 5.6 million the year prior. North America is the company’s “largest region in terms of underlying sales,” which grew 145% year over year, or from $4 billion in fiscal year 2020 to $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2021, according to the company.

Netflix’s gaming service adds two more titles, including the return of Gameloft’s ‘Asphalt Xtreme’

Earlier this month, Netflix’s new gaming service became globally available across both iOS and Android with a debut lineup that included two “Stranger Things”-themed games and a few more casual gaming titles. In the days since its launch, Netflix has expanded its lineup with two more games, including another casual game “Bowling Ballers,” and now, a reboot of Gameloft’s “Asphalt Xtreme,” which officially shut down this September.

“Bowling Ballers” is another title from existing Netflix gaming partner Frosty Pop, which already offers two other games for the streamer’s new service, “Shooting Hoops” and “Teeter Up.” Like the others, this latest addition is a simple game that’s described as an “endless runner” for bowling, which also includes a level-based mode. And like all Netflix games, “Bowling Ballers” is ad-free and doesn’t offer any in-app purchases.

The other new addition is a bit more interesting. “Asphalt Xtreme” was a fairly popular Gameloft title for a few years. It was the second spinoff from Gameloft’s “Asphalt” series of action racing games, and allowed players to go off-roads to explore exotic locales while controlling a variety of vehicles, including rally cars and monster trucks. The gameplay would see the cars having to traverse difficult elements like water, rocks, sand, mud, and snow.

The game was developed from August 2015 to September 2017, but was shut down entirely on September 30, 2021. By Oct. 1, 2021, it was no longer available on the app stores for download. Netflix then licensed the title from Gameloft to add to its mobile gaming collection.

Larger gaming publishers like Gameloft tend to shut down titles that have passed their prime, and no longer generate the revenue needed to keep the game active. But a service like Netflix, it seems, could be an interesting new home for such IP, as its goal is not to develop a profit from the games directly.

This format of an all-access “gaming subscription” is already used by the various cloud gaming services, like Xbox Cloud Gaming or Stadia, as well as the retro gaming service GameClub, and even Apple’s own Apple Arcade.

But Netflix doesn’t need the game subscription to stand on its own. Instead, Netflix sees these mobile games as a means of maintaining and growing its paying subscriber base by offering consumers a different type of entertainment beyond its TV shows and movies. Netflix subscribers can browse the available games inside Netflix’s streaming app, but the titles themselves are listed on the respective app stores as free downloads. When users are ready to play, the games require your Netflix credentials to log in — making them exclusive to Netflix members.

“Bowling Ballers,” which launched earlier this month, is available to global users. Netflix confirmed “Asphalt Xtreme,” which launched just this week, is now slowly rolling out to users worldwide. It will become available to U.S. users in the weeks ahead.

Spotify debuts a ‘Netflix Hub’ featuring music and podcasts tied to Netflix shows and movies

Looking for the soundtrack from your favorite Netflix show? Now, it will be easier to find thanks to an expanded partnership between Netflix and Spotify. The streaming music service today introduced a new “Netflix Hub” on its app, which will offer a centralized place for finding the official soundtracks, playlists, and podcasts for top shows and movies on Netflix.

At launch, the Netflix Hub offers soundtracks and playlists from Stranger Things, La Casa De Papel, Narcos: Mexico, Outer Banks, Squid Game, tick, tick…Boom! Bridgerton, Cowboy Bebop, Virgin RiverOn My Block, and others.

It will also include Netflix-tied podcasts, like Okay, Now Listen, Netflix Is A Daily Joke,10/10 Would Recommend, You Can’t Make This Up, and those that delve into popular shows, like The Crown: The Official Podcast or Behind the Scenes: Shadow and Bone, and more.

Other music and fan experiences will be a part of the new destination as well, including an enhanced album for the Netflix Western film, “The Harder They Fall,” which offers fans a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the soundtrack led by Jay-Z. In addition, there’s a content destination for “La Casa De Papel (Money Heist),” Part 5 Volume 2, and a character matching experience where fans get to play a game to find out which “La Casa De Papel” character they are –which feels a bit like a playing a BuzzFeed quiz.

Image Credits: Spotify/Netflix

The hub builds on Spotify and Netflix’s existing partnership, Spotify tells TechCrunch. The two companies have worked together on many official playlists, including most recently, the enhanced album for “The Harder They Fall,” which had been available before the Hub’s debut. They also had worked on the “Money Heist” content experience and the character-matching game ahead of today’s news.

Netflix didn’t purchase access to have a hub on Spotify’s app. In other words, it’s not an ad product, nor did any money exchange hands here. Instead, both companies see the potential in working together to serve their respective fan bases, where there’s naturally a lot of overlap.

Netflix is not the only major company to debut a thematic “hub” on Spotify’s app. Recently, Spotify and Peleton announced a similar partnership that introduced a “Curated by Peloton” Workout Hub featuring playlists from Peloton instructors. And outside its app, Spotify earlier this year partnered with GIPHY to introduce users to music via artists’ GIFs.

Making some of this Netflix content exclusive to Spotify may make sense for the streamer as the other large music and podcast provider on the market, Apple (via Apple Music and Apple Podcasts), is also now a Netflix competitor through its Apple TV+ streaming service. Spotify, at least as of yet, hasn’t expanded into Netflix’s core market, which makes them better suited as partners.

Spotify says that it plans to roll out more exclusive content to the Netflix Hub in the months ahead.

The Netflix Hub will available to all users, both Free and Premium, in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland, and India.

 

Bitrise grabs $60M to keep companies updated with constantly changing mobile requirements

As more of the world shifts to doing everything from their smartphones, the ability to build better iOS and Android apps has to move with it. Bitrise aims to be the go-to company closing the gap between that mobile demand and a company’s ability to get apps out faster while also balancing all of the moving parts and complexities.

Today, mobile DevOps company Bitrise announced it secured $60 million in Series C funding, led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors Partech, Open Ocean, Lobito, Fiedler Capital and Y Combinator.

The remote-first company was co-founded by Barnabas Birmacher, Daniel Balla and Viktor Benei in October 2014. Between then and now, we reported on their $3.2 million Series A round back in 2017, but it also raised $20 million in Series B funding in 2019. The new raise was planned and executed in a few weeks, bringing Bitrise’s total funding to nearly $100 million, CEO Birmacher told TechCrunch.

Two years ago, the company, headquartered in Budapest, went through Y Combinator’s Growth Program to scale its company, and has now tripled its headcount and opened offices in London, San Francisco, Boston and Osaka.

“Mobile made two or three years of advancement in the last 12 months,” Birmacher said. “This means companies have to use mobile to stay competitive, but how they are developing mobile is getting more complex.”

Developers are busy running processes so they can’t concentrate fully on creating new value for customers, he added.

Bitrise aims to create an end-to-end platform for mobile development that automates core workflows, shortens release cycles and provides better understanding of how new pieces of code will affect live apps before their release, so companies can focus on getting out the next big release to customers.

To date, the company has over 100,000 developers using it from more than 6,000 mobile organizations. It is doubling its revenue year over year and plans to increase its employees to 300 across its engineering, product, sales and growth teams.

In addition to hiring, the new capital will enable Bitrise to expand its product so that developers can more easily operate in the continuous integration and delivery space and have better observability into the full DevOps lifecycle.

As part of the investment, Josh Zelman, vice president at Insight Partners, will join Bitrise’s board, while Matt Koran, also vice president at Insight, will act as a board observer.

“Bitrise has been building towards the current moment in mobile since its launch eight years ago,” Zelman said in a written statement. “Mobile has become a primary means of communication, entertainment and commerce for people around the world, and Bitrise has enabled enterprises to keep up with mobile innovation at an ever-increasing pace. Bitrise was purpose-built for mobile, and the company has become a leader in the mobile DevOps space.”