Trending: Ex-Microsoft engineer convicted of 18 felonies after stealing $10M in digital currency

cyanogenmod1What started as a side project 48 months ago for Steve Kondik has turned into a full-blown mission to build one of the largest mobile operating systems.

CyanogenMod today announced the launch of Cyanogen Inc. and a $7 million series A investment from Benchmark and Redpoint Ventures.

Founded in Seattle by Kondik, CyanogenMod builds software to give Android owners a more customizable, secure and speedy experience than the standard version of Android that comes on smartphones out of the box.

While millions already use CyanogenMod, it is definitely difficult to install the software onto your phone — Kondik even called the process “hideous” in a blog post today. To fix that, and to appeal more to the masses, the company plans to offer a formal installer for Android phones in the Google Play Store.

“CyanogenMod is already in use on millions of handsets, and with the simplified installer that the company is announcing simultaneously with this financing, that number is sure to grow quickly,” wrote Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky. “We believe that CyanogenMod is poised to become one of the largest mobile operating systems in the world.”

Kondik, who quit his job at Samsung in March to work on CyanogenMod full time, also listed some goals for the company:

  • Organize, lead, and support our community
  • Create amazing user experience centered around how YOU work
  • Security solutions that really work
  • Stay committed to building the features our users need
  • No junk
  • Constant updates
  • Available on everything, to everyone

Android and iOS are clearly the two frontrunners for smartphone OS, but third place has been up for grabs. Windows has held steady there for a while at about five percent market share, with Blackberry close behind.

But it’s clear that with the new funding, CyanogenMod is making a run for the third spot. In fact, the company already has a partnership in the works with one OEM. It will be interesting to see if it catches on with mainstream users.

CyanogenMod’s 17 employees are split between two offices in Seattle and Palo Alto. The company just completed a Reddit AMA answering various questions regarding OEM partnerships, monetization plans and building its own hardware.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.