Messaging service Tango has raised $215 million from the Alibaba Group and an additional $65 million from its existing investors in a move to take on WhatsApp and become a leader in mobile messaging services globally.
Unlike WhatsApp which has announced launch of Voice messages, Tango was built with free video and voice calling and texting for 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi and in July last year launched social networking capabilities for its users.
In a prepared statement to the media, Tango founder and CEO Uri Raz said,“We are thrilled to bring on Alibaba as a strategic investor. 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 over 200 million users, Tango says it wants to re-imagine the way people connect, share, and have fun on their mobile devices. Apart from social networking features, in October 2013, Tango partnered with Spotify to introduce music sharing and also launched the ability for users to play games online together with friends. This three services have seen user engagement on Tango grow tremendously.
“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. “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 CTO and co-founder Eric Setton said the new round of funding will enable them to continue to innovate, hire the best talent, aggressively expand their content partnerships, and build a world-class platform.
Founded in September 2009 and headquartered in Mountain View, California, Tango has reportedly raised $367 million in venture capital financing to date and previously raised $87 million from Access Industries, DFJ, Qualcomm Ventures, Toms Capital and Translink Capital, as well as Bill Tai, Shimon Weintraub, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Alex Zubillaga and others. Including the new round.