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Tango messaging app launches $25 million gaming fund to boost platform

In the fiercely competitive world of messaging apps, startups have to do whatever’s necessary to get noticed and take their business to the next level.

In what it claims is a first for a messaging startup, Tango has announced a global games fund for developers worth a whopping $25 million.

Coming just a year after it integrated a gaming platform into its app, the Mountain View-based company hopes the fund will serve to tempt developers into designing games for its cross-platform service.

In a post announcing the fund, Tango digital marketing strategist Sarah vanGoethem said the cash will be targeted at promoting top-performing games through paid marketing initiatives outside of Tango. It’ll also look at the possibility of investments and acquisitions in game developer teams “on a case-by-case basis,” vanGoethem said.

‘One of a kind’

Tango CEO and founder Uri Raz said on Monday he’s adamant developers will benefit from his company’s “one-of-a-kind” game distribution model.

“First, we give developers access to our highly engaged member base, 70 percent of whom play mobile games,” Raz explained. “Secondly, we give them access to platform tools that allow them to increase vitality and retention on their games. On top of that, we will be putting our marketing muscle behind off-platform user acquisition.”

The strategy to take Tango deeper into the gaming space will be spearheaded by new arrival Jim Ying, formerly of Tokyo-based GREE, a mobile social networking service with a strong focus on games. Tango’s decision to enhance its games service comes as Asia-based apps such as WeChat and Line enjoy success with similar moves.

‘Major milestone’

Tango described the move to launch a fund as “a major milestone not only for Tango, but the mobile messaging and gaming industries,” adding, “No other messaging app has made a financial commitment of this size for game developers.”

The startup landed in the mobile messaging space five years ago as a video- and voice-calling app. Since then, the free service has steadily evolved into a full-fledged social platform, allowing users to share photos, discover new music, and play games, as well as communicate with one another via text, video, or voice.

In March the company announced its global user base had crossed the 200 million mark. In the same month, it secured $280 million in funding, with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba throwing $215 million into the pot.

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