New Android OS Gets Santander’s Support

Santander’s venture fund is backing up new Android OS developer Cyanogen in an $80 million funding round that is also being supported by other major investors.

Christened CyanogenMod, the new Android-based OS has a user base of over 50 million and has been developed as an open source. The OS also comes in a commercial version, which would provide an alternate to the popular Google version for handset manufacturers. 

Among other investors backing the series C funding for the Palo-Alto-based company are Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries, Rupert Murdoch and Vivi Nevo.

Using Cyanogen’s expertise in the Android space, Santander plans to experiment with distribution techniques, enhance user interface, improve security and generate new revenue streams, said Mariano Belinky, Managing Director, Santander InnoVentures.

“It will also provide Santander customers greater data security and defend their privacy within a Santander-friendly ecosystem, as well as give us the option to develop new distribution strategies and capture the value from new potential revenue streams that require deep integration with the Cyanogen operating system,” he said.

Using Cyanogen’s OS, Santander plans to boost commercial adoption of terminals across Europe and Latin America.

This week, Santander’s Innoventure fund also provided a $5 million investment for MyCheck, an Israel-based mobile payment and loyalty provider which will provide for Santander users to check into venues, pay securely and benefit from relevant offers using their smartphone device.