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iPad app of the year winner FiftyThree reels in $15M in funding

FiftyThree — the group behind the 2012 iPad App of the Year — just got a $15 million (£9.6 million) boost to its popular design application, Paper.

The New York-based company has announced the deal with Chris Dixon and the Andreessen Horowitz team, who offered their support alongside Highlight Ventures, Thrive Capital, SV Angel, and start-up king Jack Dorsey.

"With their partnership we'll be able to expand our software, service, and hardware teams to take on bigger questions around collaboration and physical creation," FiftyThree said in an announcement. The New York and Seattle engineering teams will be the first to grow.

According to Dixon - who co-founded Hunch and joined Andreessen Horowitz last year - the company didn't need to raise money, "but decided that the opportunity was so large that it made sense to accelerate their efforts with additional capital and resources."

FiftyThree has fared well on its own; the group formed two years ago, coming from careers working on projects like Office, Kinect, Sonos, Xbox, and Microsoft's never-launched Courier tablet.

Last year, they launched Paper — an iPad application that offers a simple way to physically capture ideas. Since its release, Paper has won major industry awards and was named Apple's App of the Year. It has scored more than 8 million downloads, and produced more than 80 million projects.

"Yet there is much more to do," FiftyThree said in a blog.

Two key areas the company is focused on, which will presumably be advanced with the help of its recent influx of cash, include human-to-human collaboration and a physical set of tools to fuel the creative process. The team provided no further details about just how they plan to make those dreams come true.

Still, Dixon, who has been dedicated to the company since meeting the founders in 2011, wants to lend a hand.

"I'm convinced that they are one of the most innovative design and engineering teams in the world," he said in a blog post. "In the past, they reimagined how we play games, view images, listen to music, create documents, and more. With FiftyThree, they are rethinking the very way we create the collaborate on ideas. I couldn't be more excited to be involved."

The Paper iPad app is currently available for free download in the Apple iTunes Store.