Tencent, China’s largest internet company, has invested $50 million in Waterloo-born Kik.
Founder Ted Livingston explained the round of capital in a post on Medium.
Our board asked us if a partnership with a large company might give us an advantage in winning the chat race. … keeping in line with Kik’s principle of considering all the options, I eventually agreed to take a look. … I made a list of every major company we could partner with. Right from the start, Tencent was at the top of the list.
“At Kik, we believe chat will be the simplest way to connect with the world around you,” Livingston wrote. “That’s what we saw in China. Want to get a soda from a vending machine? You can use WeChat to scan the machine to start chatting and get the menu sent to you instantly. Then you can select the item, agree to pay through the app, and get your drink. Want to print a picture? Scan the printer to start chatting, send it a picture, and the picture comes out.”
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According to Livingston, only five companies “see the future” like Kik does. Those are Tencent, Line, Facebook, Snapchat, and Telegram.
This round brings Kik’s total funding to $120 million to date. It is now valued at $1 billion.
The Canadian company boasts more than 240 million users, including a higher number of teens in the US.
Kik, which currently has around 100 employees, plans to double its headcount over the next year using the new flush of capital.