Video chat startup Tango has raised another big round of funding, bringing in $40 million in Series C financing led by Qualcomm Ventures and Access Industries. The new financing means that Tango has raised just shy of $100 million, with the last round — for $42 million — coming just about nine months ago.
Tango CTO Eric Setton told me in a phone conversation that the funding gives the startup a competitive advantage as the mobile video calling market heats up. More than that, however, getting a strategic investment from Qualcomm could help it improve its product. Since Qualcomm makes the chips used by mobile phone manufacturers, Tango has been working with it to optimize video delivery through its chat app.
Tango has quickly become one of the most popular options for multiplatform video chat on mobile devices. In the 18 months or so since launch, Tango has managed to attract more than 45 million users worldwide. And hey, those users are actually, uh, using the app: According Setton, 44 percent have used the app in the last 30 days, and about 10 percent use it every day. Altogether, the number of calls that Tango powers has doubled in just the last four months.
It’s also translating that usage into real revenue. In December, Tango rolled out new features that let users leave video messages for each other and also add animations to their calls. So far, “tens of millions” of users have used the new features. And surprisingly enough, it’s not just Asian superusers paying up to make their chats all cutesy: Setton told me that while about 50 percent of users are in the U.S., that market accounts for 80 percent of all revenues.
And so, with that in mind, Tango is also adding new premium features to the app to improve the experience and ramp up monetization. For instance, it already gave users the ability to leave video messages to one another — but that was a one-to-one experience. Now users can send a single video message to multiple contacts. And their contacts don’t even need to have Tango to view those messages — now they can be delivered by text and email and viewed on the web.
Tango is also adding new animations for users to choose from. In addition to driving revenue, its “Surprises” feature also increases engagement, leading users to increase call length by some 40 percent. It’s also created a storefront that it can update regularly, without having to release a whole new build of the app every time it wants to do so.
With a deeper war chest and even more monetization options, Tango hopes to take over the world. At least maybe give Skype a run for its money. Or something like that.