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  • SendBird closes $102 million round for its chat and messaging API platform


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    SendBird, a platform that enables developers to integrate chat and messaging features into their apps, has added another $50 million to its previously announced series B round, taking the total for the round to $102 million.

    The extension was led by existing investor Tiger Global Management, with participation from wealth management firm Iconiq Capital, which claims such big-name backers as Mark Zuckerberg.

    San Mateo-based SendBird develops the software infrastructure that allows any app to offer services like VoIP calls, messaging, group chats, photo-sharing, and more. Countless apps, from ride-sharing services to online games, have features that enable two or more people to chat in real time. While such companies could technically develop the underlying infrastructure themselves, it is usually too resource-intensive to take on themselves, which is why they instead pay third parties such as SendBird for their services.


    SendBird has now raised a total of $120 million since its inception in 2013, and the additional funding is indicative of the growing demand for messaging tools inside apps — something that is being driven by the broader surge in such messaging apps as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Consumers and businesses are accustomed to chatting through IP-based messaging, which is why the feature is encroaching on all manner of industries, from customer service to technical support.

    SendBird’s growth is also representative of the broader appeal of platforms that help developers build feature-rich communications into their apps via SDKs and APIs. Twilio, for example, is riding the crest of this wave following its 2016 public market debut — its shares recently hit an all-time high of around $135, roughly 800% up on its IPO price. Other notable players in the space include Europe’s MessageBird, which has attracted big investment, and San Francisco’s Layer, which has also raised significant funds.

    “We were very fortunate to close the initial $52 million of our series B, but the pull of the international community continued to weigh upon us,” noted SendBird CEO John S. Kim. “Interest has been quite high, and we felt compelled to move forward aggressively into international markets. While our growth has been very strong, we see an opportunity to further accelerate development and solidify our position as the world’s leading chat and messaging platform and API.”

    SendBird also revealed that in 2018 the number of messages sent through its platform tripled to more than 1 billion each month, and it claims 50 million people are now using apps that leverage its technology.

    Additionally, SendBird has added a handful of new offices, including one in London, Singapore, and Bengaluru.

     


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