App developer Shazam gets $40 mln backing from tycoon Carlos Slim
By Sarah Young
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) - Smartphone app developer Shazam has found an unlikely ally in the form of Carlos Slim, one of the world's richest men, who is investing $40 million to back the development of the start-up best known for helping music fans identify catchy songs.
The move is surprising for 73-year-old Slim, who built his company America Movil in a more staid sector, namely the highly regulated telecommunications and TV business in Latin America.
Before Shazam, Slim's only forays into Europe were to plough 4.8 billion euros ($6.1 billion) into stakes in Dutch operator KPN and Telekom Austria, on which he is nursing huge paper losses after their shares declined sharply in the past year.
Slim, ranked the world's top billionaire by Forbes magazine with a net worth of $73 billion, was brought in by one of Shazam's venture capital owners, Silicon Valley fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
British-based Shazam will use the funds to accelerate its expansion into television, where its recognition software can tune into an advertisement's soundtrack then link viewers directly to the brand's website.
It wants to establish the offer in Britain and the rest of Western Europe and Latin America.
"Within 18 months we expect TV will significantly outperform the music side (of the business) and that's part of this investment," Andrew Fisher, executive chairman of Shazam, said in an interview.