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Progress Software just dropped $49 million on start-up Kinvey to help companies build smarter apps

  • Kinvey specializes in mobile backend as a service, which developers can use to build and run mobile apps that integrate with enterprise systems.
  • Progress announced a strategic plan around cognitive application development in January.
  • Progress posted $0.21 in earnings per share on $93.2 million in revenue for its latest quarter.
Part of the Kinvey team.
Part of the Kinvey team.

Progress Software on Wednesday announced that it has acquired Kinvey, a start-up that offers a service that developers can use to build and host mobile apps that integrate with existing enterprise software systems. The deal cost Progress $49 million.

Progress, which makes software for companies to build cross-platform applications and claims 80,000 enterprise customers, made the announcement alongside its earnings report for the quarter ended May 31. The company earned $0.21 per share on $93.2 million in revenue during the quarter. Progress stock was up 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Earlier this year Progress unveiled a new strategic plan that emphasizes cognitive application development. The word "cognitive," a nod to computing in a way that's similar to what the human brain can do, has been popularized by IBM in recent years. The push comes during a phase of industry-wide investment in artificial intelligence (AI).

"In the future, the market is trending to the point where app development platforms have to exhibit certain new characteristics to enable intelligent and useful apps that come to you, instead of you going to an app," Kinvey cofounder and CEO Sravish Sridhar told CNBC in an email.

Kinvey was founded in 2010 and based in Boston. Over the years Kinvey became known as a key provider of mobile backend as a service, which provides the underlying necessary computing and storage infrastructure for apps, with customers such as Schneider Electric and VMware. The company had raised nearly $18 million in venture capital from investors such as Verizon Ventures and NTT Docomo.

One of Kinvey's competitors, Parse, was acquired by Facebook in 2013 and subsequently shut down.

Kinvey will remain available as a standalone product but will be integrated with existing Progress tools such as NativeScript and DataDirect, wrote Sridhar, who will report to Progress CEO Yogesh Gupta.

Progress acquired predictive maintenance start-up DataRPM for $30 million in March.