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Kickstarter smartwatch Pebble gets new $15m boost

Pebble just got a $15 million (£9.8 million) boost, which the company said will be used to help keep up with customer demand for its smartwatch.

After raising $10 million through Kickstarter last year, the company just received an even larger infusion of Series A cash from Charles River Ventures.

It will distributed throughout Pebble to grow the software engineering team, expand its open development platform, and scale to meet demand.

"The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities," founder Eric Migicovsky said in a statement.

The highly customisable wristwatch connects wirelessly to an iPhone or Android device, delivering notifications on the screen and running various applications, including the RunKeeper app, which hit the watch earlier this month.

Pebble made a massive splash online last year, when it became the most-funded Kickstarter project ever (at the time), and sold out after 85,000 watches were claimed. The initial September shipping date came and went, without any of the e-paper timepieces reaching backers' doors. Ultimately, first shipments of the smartwatch were delayed due to demand; early backers finally received their Pebble earlier this year. This round of funding should help curb similar delays in the future.

"This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble's extraordinary potential," Migicovsky said.

That ecosystem got a boost with an update to Pebble's open software development kit (SDK) that enables two-way communication between Pebble and the connected smartphone. Dubbed PebbleKit, the update to the SDK that launched in April enables third-party developers to create apps that send and receive information. According to Pebble, watch apps can now receive weather or traffic information, act as a remote control for an Internet-connected device, or even display bitcoin prices.