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AppDirect’s Montreal office.

AppDirect

Rising tech star AppDirect has clinched $140-million (U.S.) in funding, its biggest round so far, and the company – launched six years ago by two Canadian entrepreneurs – says it is now valued at more than $1-billion.

The San Francisco-based online app marketplace said on Wednesday that it had raised $140-million in a Series E funding effort led by an investment fund advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Previous investors – including Mithril Capital Management, StarVest Partners, Montreal-based iNovia Capital Inc. and Stingray Digital Group Inc. – also took part.

"This is a pretty significant step up in financing and value," AppDirect president Daniel Saks said in an interview.

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So far, AppDirect has raised a total of $245-million, the company said.

The tech startup, which has offices in Montreal and Ottawa and says it is strongly committed to the Canadian tech scene, provides generic app-store services in the cloud to companies such as Samsung and Deutsche Telekom.

Mr. Saks said J.P. Morgan's interest was piqued after AppDirect's previous funding round of $50-million, in February, which included the involvement of high-profile financer Henry Kravis.

"J.P. Morgan reached out to us and began to build a relationship. They wanted tech exposure," he said. "They wanted a company with a really strong breadth across the space."

"The AppDirect team has taken an 'under the radar' approach that has enabled it to quietly build one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Bay Area," Larry Unrein, portfolio manager and head of the private equity group at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said in a news release.

"We've been interested in partnering with the team for some time, and in our view, AppDirect's substantial growth, proven ability to help businesses create channels to sell and manage cloud services, and significant market opportunity make it a highly attractive investment."

Mr. Saks said the $1-billion valuation of the privately held company is "great validation to the growth so far and the potential the company has in the future."

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AppDirect says it now powers the biggest network of cloud service marketplaces, reaching about one quarter of all small businesses globally through a partner roster that includes Comcast Corp. and Australian phone company Telstra Corp.

The company boasts more than one million business subscribers, almost a 300-per-cent increase over last year.

Its number of employees worldwide has doubled in the past year to more than 350, the company said.

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