Just days after announcing plans to file for a U.S. IPO, Alibaba is making waves yet again -- this time, in the white-hot mobile messaging space.
With an investment of $215 million, the multi-tiered Chinese web titan dominated the latest round of fundraising for Tango, a free messaging platform that was founded in 2009 and currently counts 200 million members in more than 224 countries.
All told, the round closed at $280 million, with the remaining $65 million coming from prior investors. Tango has now raised a total of $365 million, according to CrunchBase.
Though these numbers pale in comparison to the astronomical $19 billion garnered by WhatsApp in its acquisition by Facebook, it nevertheless indicates that messaging apps have landed squarely in the sights of today’s web leaders.
Tango has sought to distinguish itself from rival WhatsApp and other competitors such as the Skype-like Viber -- which was acquired last month for $900 million -- by throwing social networking features into the mobile messaging mix. For instance, users can share music via Spotify integration, or play online games together, the company said.
“Alibaba is a renowned disruptive innovator,” said Tango’s CEO and founder, Uri Raz, “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.”