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PayPal, Appcelerator join forces to help merchants ramp up mobile commerce

EBay Inc.’s PayPal and Appcelerator have partnered to offer an integrated mobile commerce platform through PayPal’s merchant channel. 

The new mobile commerce offering will enable millions of PayPal merchants and Appcelerator’s 77,000-plus Web developers to build native commerce applications across handsets, tablets, connected televisions and other devices, including Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

“EBay and PayPal are looking to scale the success that they’ve had with their own applications—that’s the genesis of the partnership,” said Scott Schwarzhoff, vice president of marketing at Appcelerator, Mountain View, CA. “They focus on their key business and we focus on ours.

“We’re looking at not only the virtual goods opportunity, which is so often talked about—we want to lower that barrier enough so that any merchant that can build a Web site can now get into mobile commerce,” he said. “There’s been an increased level of interest and innovation in exploring all that mobile commerce can offer, and it’s no longer sufficient to say that I want an app that can process a payment.

“With PayPal, we’re creating a de facto standard so that all app developers can connect with consumers via deals, offers, rewards and payments that are available to any merchant.”

Appcelerator is a platform for developers, ad agencies, independant software vendors and enterprises to develop native mobile, desktop and iPad applications using Web technologies.

The company’s flagship offering, Titanium, is an open-source platform to enable cross-platform development from a single codebase at Web-development speed.

PayPal, Appcelerator enter mobile commerce partnership
Appcelerator has signed a mobile partner program agreement with PayPal to offer a fully integrated mobile commerce offering called Titanium+Commerce to more than 8 million PayPal merchants in the first half of 2011.

Titanium+Commerce, available in beta, helps merchants to build cross-platform mobile applications that feature a range of commerce capabilities using existing Web skills and technologies.

Merchants and online businesses can extend into mobile commerce by enabling the purchase of real and virtual goods, services and content from smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and other devices.

Titanium+Commerce will initially consist of an integration of PayPal’s Mobile Payment Library on top of Appcelerator’s Titanium development platform.

Both companies are also working to expand their capabilities to include a broader range of integrated commerce capabilities, including transaction analytics and other joint integrations.

Titanium+Commerce will be made available in early 2011 as ready-to-use templates for any merchant to customize with its own branding and inventory.

Sierra, eBay make strategic investments
Appcelerator has secured a $9 million round of funding. The Series B funding is being led by Sierra Ventures, with eBay participating as a strategic investor.

Existing investors Storm Ventures and Larry Augustin also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to accelerate growth of the company’s mobile commerce offering, investment in Appcelerator’s platform development, and expansion into new markets.

Developers have used Appcelerator’s Titanium platform to build 5,000 mobile and desktop applications, up from just 100 at the start of this year.

The current pace exceeds 1,000 new applications per month and the company claims to be the second-largest publisher of applications in Apple’s App Store.

“We’re going to blow this wide open for any merchant to participate in the $1 trillion mobile commerce opportunity,” Mr. Schwarzhoff said.

“On the consumer side, we have modules that we’re developing with PayPal for offers, coupons and group deals, shopping, scanning with RedLaser, mobile payments, loyalty, mobile wallet, rewards, social deal sharing and product sharing,” he said.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily