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Tencent leads US$54M in music app startup Smule to help it expand footprint in Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia accounts for 40 percent of Smule’s 52 million monthly active users, while only 30 per cent come from North America

Chinese internet company and WeChat parent, Tencent Holdings, have led a US$54 million funding round in popular music application startup Smule, according to Reuters. Existing investors Adams Street Partners and Bessemer Ventures have also joined the round, which puts Smule’s valuation at around US$604 million.

The San Francisco-headquartered startup will use the investment for international growth, especially in Southeast Asia where it has seen significant growth in the past few years. Southeast Asia accounts for 40 percent of Smule’s 52 million monthly active users, while only 30 per cent come from North America.

The company is also on course for an IPO which is likely to happen by the end of 2018, said the report.

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Also Read: It can’t get any more interesting than this: Tencent rumoured to be eyeing Go-Jek

According to Smule CEO Jeffrey Smith, Southeast Asia is very important to the future of internet. The music startup also said it looks to leverage some of Tencent’s work in China.

Founded in 2008, Smule has created a social network for musical performance powered by mobile apps, including Ocarina, Magic Piano, Sing! Karaoke, Guitar! and AutoRap. Using its flagship app Sing! Karaoke, one can record and layer on duets with popular singers. Artists upload their audio onto the platform to interact with fans and promote their music.

Smule generated US$101 million in revenue last year.

In April 2015, Smule raised US$38 million in equity and debt funding to invest in marketing, product development and international expansion. Adam Street Partners led the equity round with existing backers, including Bessemer Ventures and Shasta Ventures.

Some of Smule’s largest competitors are based in Asia, such as China’s ChangBa and Tencent’s own WeSing.

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The post Tencent leads US$54M in music app startup Smule to help it expand footprint in Southeast Asia appeared first on e27.

Source: e27

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