Shazam has entered into a strategic partnership with, and received an investment from, Mexican telecommunications company America Movil. Part of a conglomerate of companies owned by businessman Carlos Slim Helu, America Movil has put $40 million into Shazam that will aid its growth into advertising and television and help the audio recognition service expand in Latin America.
This deal isn't just about the money, Shazam executive chairman Andrew Fisher tells Billboard. "The reality is we have a very strong balance sheet and we didn't necessarily need to do a fund raise. We've actually preserved a lot of the cash we raised in the last round," he says.
Instead, the investment and partnership reflect the strategic value of a relationship with America Movil and Slim. Although the service is available worldwide -- the app is available for both smartphones and feature phones -- the company has recently focused on North America and Western Europe. Initiatives in advertising and TV have helped double its user base to 325 million since its previous funding round in June 2011.
America Movil is the largest component of the conglomeration built by Slim, Forbes' richest man in the world for the last four years. The company has operations throughout Latin America that cover fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and fixed-line Internet services and digital television. Slim's investments also includes mining, real estate and professional soccer teams.
"Carlos Slim is much broader than America Movil in terms of the portfolios of operations they have in the territory," Fisher says.
The partnership will help expand Shazam's user base -- the app will be pre-loaded on mobile devices in Latin America -- but also provide opportunities to change the way people in the territory access information over the Internet.
"As we got into that conversation about Latin America and partnering with America Movil," Fisher says, "we also saw opportunity in the emerging category of media engagement," or the way people access content through music, television and advertisements.