Jolla snares $12M to license Sailfish OS, hints at upcoming Turing smartphone

The Finnish developer Jolla said it has raised $12 million since December to further the licensing business of its Sailfish OS.

Jolla initially said in December that it had finally secured an elusive round of Series C funding that would buy some breathing room for Sailfish, a Linux-based platform that grew out of the MeeGo OS that Nokia abandoned a few years ago when it threw its weight behind Microsoft's Windows Phone. 

Jolla said it has begun to recruit software developers to strengthen its product development "for new and upcoming projects," and has canceled an application in Finland to restructure its debt.

"After our financial challenges at the end of last year, we are now on a strong path out of our third start-up death valley," Jolla Chairman Antti Saarnio said in a press release. "Through good negotiations and positive support from our main creditors we have found a way to avoid the formal and heavy debt restructuring procedure in Finland, for the benefit of all parties involved. The investment is sufficient to run our operations until the end of the year."

Jolla's financial woes forced the company to scrap the Jolla Tablet. A "small number" of tablet orders will be fulfilled for its crowdfunding backers, the company said, while all remaining contributions will be refunded.

Instead, Jolla will focus on developing and licensing Sailfish OS as it begins to pursue plans for further financing, Saarnio said. The company hopes to enter the Indian market in the coming months and has struck a licensing agreement with San Francisco-based Turing Robotics to develop software for an upcoming Turing smartphone.

"We at Jolla believe that it is possible to produce niche target group smart devices in Finland, as Turing is now planning to do," Saarnio continued. "Our aim is to support them in the best way we can."

Jolla continues to face an uphill battle, though, because there has historically been very little demand for a third operating system to compete with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Players such as Microsoft, BlackBerry and Ubuntu have struggled mightily in the era of the mass-market smartphone, and Mozilla has dropped support for its Firefox OS. Whether Jolla can truly gain traction with a mobile operating system targeted at a niche market is far from certain.

For more:
- see Jolla's press release (pdf)

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