BARCELONA GetJar, the largest independent mobile software store, said on Tuesday it had raised $25 million from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners to fund its wider push into Android software distribution.
"GetJar plans to aggressively expand its offering to Android publishers in order to secure its position as the premier 'open' Android Market alternative," GetJar said in a statement.
Silicon Valley-based GetJar was a pioneer when it launched in 2005, three years ahead of Apple's online App Store, which now holds the top spot on the market.
Since then dozens of companies, including Nokia, Microsoft, Research in Motion and many telecoms operators, have created stores.
Sales from all app stores are expected to triple this year to $15 billion, research firm Gartner said last month.
The open-source Android software platform, released onto the market just two years ago by Google, has already stormed to the top of the smartphone platform popularity charts, overtaking Nokia's Symbian at the end of last year.
Ilja Laurs, founder and chief executive of GetJar, said he expected Nokia's decision to start using Microsoft's Windows Phone software across its devices would boost GetJar's opportunities.
"The industry's perception changes immediately from two strong frontrunners to three. We benefit from fragmentation," he said.
While Nokia shares have been hammered on the bourse since the announcement was made, Laurs said the deal gave a lifeline for both giants in the software space.
"Individually they had no chance to compete. Together they have an opportunity," he said.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Will Waterman)