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Mobile messaging and social networking app raises $280 million to innovate, hire new talent, and expand its content partnerships.

It Takes $280M to Tango

Sarah Thomas
3/20/2014
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Mobile messaging services provider Tango has pulled in $280 million in fresh funding, surpassing Uber as one of the most massive cash grabs in the past decade. (See Tango Waltzes Off With $280M From Funding Round.)

The firm announced Thursday it has closed a $280 million round of funding, led by Alibaba Group at $215 million, along with $65 million from some of its prior investors, including Qualcomm Ventures. Today's funding brings its total to $367 million in venture capital raised to date. (See Tango Gets Cash, $40M in Series C VC.)

For a point of comparison, popular black car and taxi service Uber pulled in $258 million last September. Fellow over-the-top communication app WhatsApp was just acquired by Facebook for $16 billion. (See Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B, Baby, You Can Fund My Car: Uber Drives August VC, and Mobile Services Are Next Uber Trend.)

Tango (not to be confused with the wacky soft drink) offers a free video and text app that works across 3G, 4G, and WiFi, as well as on phones or computers. The app is in the heart of one of two of the biggest trends in mobility today: free over-the-top communications and social networking. In addition to its free chat services, Tango lets users share songs via Spotify integration and play games online with friends. (See Operators Can't Kik the OTT Habit.)

The company says that, since rolling out social networking features in July 2013, daily engagement on its app has doubled and "hundreds of millions" of songs have been shared among members. The multilingual app counts 200 million registered users across 224 countries, double what it had a year ago, along with 70 million monthly active users.

"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," CTO and co-founder Eric Setton said in a statement on the funding. "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."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2014 | 1:15:12 PM
Tango, good luck.
I used to use Tango on my tablet & really liked it. Its simple, it works and its awesome. I am happy that they got the funding to go the next level. Video chats always make social sense in so many contexts across many countries. So its a popular area being competed by many services but I am confident Tango can find & maintain its unique place in the competition.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:01:12 PM
Re: $$$!
@Sarah I'm certain you're right about that.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/24/2014 | 2:47:01 PM
Re: $$$!
I'm sure Tango and others like it are inspired by WhatsApp in that regard.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/24/2014 | 2:05:01 PM
Re: $$$!
@DanielCawrey, yes, that's exactly how some startups made money. They didn't have a monetization plan, but they were bought up by a big company for a lot of money. 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2014 | 4:09:24 PM
Re: $$$!
Mitch is right, and I think that my thinking is that it's not entirely clear how this company is going to make money.

What's common these days is that another larger company will likely swoop in and buy Tango down the line, integrating userbases or other synergistic opportunities That's my best guess. 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/21/2014 | 10:07:46 AM
Re: Takes 3 to Tango
I was getting it confused with Turner and Hooch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4RAg-iCSc0
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/21/2014 | 10:03:55 AM
Re: Takes 3 to Tango
hmm You mean Cop Dog? There are almost as many movies with Tango in the title as there are wireless companies called Tango.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/21/2014 | 9:58:00 AM
Re: Takes 3 to Tango
Oh wait, I thought it was the one with the cop and his dog.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/21/2014 | 8:17:31 AM
Re: $$$!
I can think of one big group that will pay for that (operators), especially if it's of the software-defined variety. Tango does monetize its product, but a lot of the OTTs don't. I wonder what the VCs see in the ones they back in such a crowded market -- acquisition potential, IPO? Because it can't always be the potential to make tons of money...
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/21/2014 | 8:15:47 AM
Re: Takes 3 to Tango
A missed opportunity: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098439/...
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