Waterloo-based Kik Interactive said it has closed a USD50 million strategic investment by Tencent, a leading provider of internet services in China and creator of the chat app Weixin (WeChat).
The Series D funding will be used to double the company´s size as it continues to build experiences and services for US youth. Kik is now valued at USD1 billion.
In China, consumers use Weixin not only to connect with friends, but also to facilitate numerous other experiences, including booking taxis, shopping, ordering food deliveries, paying utility bills, playing games, and following celebrities, opinion leaders, and brands via “Official Accounts.” Kik has similar aspirations to build a chat-based ecosystem around its stronghold of American youth. Seventy percent of Kik´s 240 million registered users are aged between 13 and 24 years old. Approximately 40 percent of US teens use Kik.
Kik Interactive, Inc., the maker of Kik, was founded in Waterloo, Ontario, in 2009. When Kik launched as a messaging app in late 2010, it was one of the fastest-growing smartphone apps in existence, gaining 1 million users in its first two weeks. It now has more than 240 million registered users.