* Shazam hits 50 million users
* Wins new round of venture investment
* One of the most popular iPhone apps
By David Lawsky
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 13 Venture capital firm
Kleiner Perkins on Tuesday makes its latest bet on wireless
device technology, with high hopes in music recognition and
iPhone application developer Shazam, joining a wave of
investment in the hot mobile content and technology market.
Kleiner Perkins, known for backing Google (GOOG.O) and eBay
(EBAY.O) in their start-up phases, is leading a funding round
in Shazam that includes Acacia Venture Partners and DN
Shazam is a seven-year-old firm that sells and identifies
songs and which passed 50 million users on Tuesday.
Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy, who manages a fund
that invests in iPhone application developers, told Reuters in
an interview his firm saw Shazam as a springboard for
advertising, music sales and other offerings, because it was
one of the most popular of the Apple (AAPL.O) iPhone App
Store's 85,000 offerings.
"It is one of a handful of companies in this new mobile
space that has significant break-out traction," Murphy said.
Kleiner Perkins' investments coincide with mounting
interest in mobile devices, as gadgets from the iPhone to
Palm's PALM.O Pre and Amazon's (AMZN.O) Kindle capture
consumers' imaginations and dollars.
Shazam's program is available on Research in Motion Ltd
RIM.TO Blackberries, Google Inc (GOOG.O) Android phones,
Nokia Corp devices NOK1V.HE, and other smartphones.
iPhone users alone have downloaded 10 million free copies.
Murphy said the iPhone Apps Store will soon offer a paid
version -- similar to that offered for Blackberries -- for
$4.99. That will allow users to identify or "tag" an unlimited
number of songs a month, instead of just five.
Murphy said Shazam is the seventh company in which Kleiner
Perkins has invested in as part of a year-old partnership with
Apple to focus on developing wireless applications.
Under that partnership, the money comes from Kleiner and
limited partner investors, while Apple provides help on
technical and marketing issues.
Other companies in the mobile fund include a gaming
company, a mobile social networking company, a home automation
control company and a shopping company.
"Apple introduced us to Shazam," said Murphy.
Murphy won't say how much money Kleiner, Acacia and DN
Capital, is putting into the company in this funding round.
Shazam -- named for a D.C. comic-book hero popular decades
ago -- turned profitable from advertising, paid versions of its
software and by selling songs and other band-related items.
Its users hold their mobile phone near the source of a song
and a few seconds later they learn its name, the artists and
(Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing Bernard Orr)