Shazam gets $40m funding boost from ‘world’s richest person’

08/07/2013

UK-based music discovery and marketing firm Shazam has raised an extra $40m (£26.8m) after getting investment from the world’s richest billionaire.

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Carlos Slim, owner of Latin American telecoms firm America Movil, is investing the money to expand Shazam’s reach in the UK to across the rest of Western Europe and Latin America.

Shazam will use the funding to boost its expansion into TV, where its recognition software can tune into a commercial’s soundtrack then link viewers directly to the brand's website.

"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.

Leading brands such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and American Express are already using Shazam in ad campaigns in North America, where the company generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the TV side, Fisher said.

Given that global TV advertising spending totalled $350 billion in 2012, according to researchers Nielsen, the scale of the opportunity for Shazam is huge, said Fisher, who hopes the TV business will help build the company into one suitable for a stock-market listing.

"That's our ambition, to list ... Certainly, two years' time is realistic," he said. The company's products are already used by 350 million people.

'World's top billionaire'

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.

America Movil has also agreed to promote Shazam across the dozen or so markets it operates in Latin America. "Shazam is defining a new category of media engagement that combines the power of mobile with traditional broadcast media and advertising," Slim said in a statement.

Slim's investment takes the total backing that Shazam has secured since 2009 to $72 million.

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