Open-source PaaS startup gets $8 million in funding

Oregon-based AppFog also changes name from PHP Fog

Cloud-based PHP "Platform as a Service" (PaaS) vendor AppFog on Thursday announced an $8 million round of venture funding.

If you're unfamiliar with AppFog, that's understandable because the company on Thursday also announced a name change from PHP Fog.

Leading the investment round was Ignition Partners, with participation from other previous investors (Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital and Founders Co-Op) and new investors Simon Crosby and Matt Ocko. AppFog, founded last August by chief executive Lucas Carlson, now has raised a total of $9.8 million.

AppFog said it plans to use the funding to ramp up development of its PHP application stack, which is designed to enable apps developers to rapidly create and scale PHP-based applications. The Portland, Ore.-based company claims nearly 20,000 apps developers have created and deployed about 10,000 PHP-based apps using its hosting service.

The PaaS market is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years and venture capitalists have been sinking a lot of money into the space. On Tuesday, Apprenda, which makes a PaaS software stack for enterprises running Microsoft's .NET framework, announced a $10 million venture round (also led by Ignition Partners).

And on July 25, CloudBees, a PaaS provider for Java apps development, announced a $10.5 million funding round.

Ignition managing director Frank Artale, who will join AppFog's board of directors, said in a statement announcing the venture funding that the company's focus on open source "provides them with a unique position to provide a solid product and help drive a movement that will significantly benefit enterprise IT."

CEO Carlson added, "“We started the company to catalyze the development of PHP apps because it is the most widely used language across consumer and enterprise web based apps. We are deeply committed to the PHP community and to our open source roots, and as we grow, we will leverage our platform to offer the same powerful application development framework to developers who use Node, Ruby, Python, Java, .NET, and more."

AppFog's developer cloud services run from $249 to $29 a month per server. (Developers can share a free cloud for six months.)

The company also offers PHP Fog for Enterprise (which I think is being renamed AppFog for Enterprise). Pricing isn't listed on the company's website, though professional services apparently start at $250 per hour.

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