Tango Mobile Messaging App Gets Big Funding From Investors
March 20, 2014

Tango Mobile Messaging App Gets Big Funding From Investors

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Messaging app Tango just received $280 million in financing, which was led with a $215 million investment from Alibaba Group, and additional funding coming from prior investors in Tango.

The free mobile messaging service boasts over 200 million members and 70 million monthly active users. The app runs across multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, PC and Windows Phone.

“We are thrilled to bring on Alibaba as a strategic investor,” said Tango CEO and Founder Uri Raz, in a corporate statement. “Alibaba is a renowned disruptive innovator, and their investment in Tango is a testament to our strategy and a clear indication of the future potential of how content and services will be delivered to consumers.”

With this round of investing, Alibaba will receive a minority stake in Tango, and a seat on the Tango board, CNET reports. The valuation for the company was not disclosed.

Alibaba itself is looking at a US IPO, with the new round of funding possibly leading to an eventual IPO for Tango, USA Today reports.

Tango has brought in a total of $367 million in funding over its five-year existence. The Mountain View, California start-up previously raised $87 million from Access Industries, DFJ, Qualcomm Ventures, Toms Capital and Translink Capital, as well as individuals Bill Tai, Shimon Weintraub, Jerry Yang, Alex Zubillaga and others.

“Tango has exhibited tremendous growth because of its unique approach to combine free communications, social and content,” said Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group, in a corporate statement. “We were simply blown away by the vision and quality of the team at Tango and believe they have a disruptive way of looking at the mobile and messaging opportunity.”

Tango is one of a number of start-up messaging services and apps receiving attention through either funding or acquisition. It has almost started a race to fund such enterprises.

“A whole new level of connection and sharing of experiences is available through messaging apps that fundamentally affects the way content gets distributed on mobile,” said CTO and co-founder Eric Setton, in a corporate statement. “This round of funding will enable us to continue to innovate, hire the best talent, aggressively expand our content partnerships, and build a world-class platform as we go after what is truly a big opportunity.”

"This round really validates our vision of going beyond simple messaging," said Setton to CNET, adding that the app has added new features such as clip-sharing and collaborative gameplay, helping to increase its profile.

"People are starting to see what is the role of these mobile messaging services, not only connecting people but helping them discover media and services," setton said to CNET. "That is a massive opportunity."

Tango employs 160 people, and intends to use the funding to add staff in the US and China, USA Today reports. Adding staff will increase development in order to ramp up distribution in North America and Asia. The China-based Alibaba has an interest in fostering growth for a company with a footprint in China and Asia.