Alibaba makes $215 million investment in Tango

(Photo: Tango)Tango founders Uri Raz and Eric Setton.

Alibaba Group has sunk $215 million into Tango, a free mobile messaging provider based in Mountain View, California. Tango has an office in Beijing.

The amount is part of a $280 million round of funding that also saw an an infusion of $65 million from some of Tango's prior investors. Analysts estimate the new investments raise Tango's value to $1.1 billion and place Alibaba's stake from 20% to 25%.

Tango has 200 million registered users, 70 million of whom are active on a monthly basis. It probably derives about half its sales from advertising and the rest from revenue-sharing deals with games makers. Tango has distributed 30 game titles in the last eight months, and partnered with Spotify last October to let its users share short music clips.

Tango has been built on a foundation of mobile messaging features that include free video and voice calling and texting available cross-platform over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. Over the past year, Tango has evolved into a next generation mobile messaging app that blends communication, social networking and content into a single platform.

"We are thrilled to bring on Alibaba as a strategic investor," said Tango CEO and Founder Uri Raz. "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." 

"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."

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