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HTML5 start-up Strobe secures funding

O'Reilly and Hummer-Winblad have invested in a company aiming to help bring a snazzy interface to online publishing--both with apps and on the Web.

Strobe, a start-up focusing on publishing tools that employ a new generation of Web standards, has secured first-round funding.

Chief Executive and co-founder Charles Jolley announced the move today but declined to share exactly how much Hummer-Winblad and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures bestowed upon his company. The company's technology is based on a project called SproutCore that Jolley has been working on for years, including several while at Apple. Jolley left Apple in July.

SproutCore uses JavaScript and other Web tools to endow Web pages with user interfaces more like what one would expect of a native application. It plugs into the movement toward Web applications--but Strobe isn't just about the Web, Jolley said.

"You build your app using Web technologies like HTML5," Jolley said. "You can then deploy to either the Web or package and ship in the app store." This approach helps people find the content from would-be publishers, he believes.

It's a good time to be in the Web toolmaking business, apparently. "We actually had really intense competition for the deal, too--over seven firms at the table," Jolley said.

Strobe has just nine employees now, with plans for 12 by the end of January. Among the employees are Yehuda Katz, who's worked extensively on Ruby on Rails and jQuery programming projects, and and Carl Lerche, who's worked on Ruby on Rails at EngineYard.

"Most of our team comes from Apple and EngineYard," Jolley said.

With the first-round funding, Strobe also gets two board members: Bryce Roberts from O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Lars Leckie from Hummer-Winblad.