| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Shazam, whose technology lets people use their cell phones to learn the names of catchy songs, has raised $32 million in funding to bolster expansion plans and move the company closer to a potential public stock offering.
The new funding, led by venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Institutional Venture Partners, will allow Shazam to double its 100-person staff and accelerate product development as it steps up efforts to expand into the television market.
The company would not disclose the valuation it received in the funding round, but Chief Executive Andrew Fisher told Reuters that it was in the "hundreds of millions of dollars."
Valuations of Internet companies have soared in recent months, as investors snap up shares of privately held companies that are developing fast-growing social networking and mobile computing services.
LinkedIn Corp, a professional social networking website, and online music service Pandora Music Inc had splashy initial public offerings in recent weeks. LinkedIn's shares more than doubled on their first day of trading, while shares of Pandora gained as much as 30 percent on the first day, but have both since sunk below the opening price.
Fisher said the recent IPO activity has had no influence on his views about going public and he said that Shazam has made no decision about whether to list its shares on the public market. But he said that Shazam, which has nearly 150 million users, was on track to be considered an "IPO candidate" in 18 months as the company makes progress developing its business and its financial performance.
Shazam, which is based in London, does not disclose its revenue, but the company has been profitable for two years.
While the company is best known for its music-recognition software, which runs on cell phones and analyzes the sound waves of music played on the radio or in restaurants, Shazam is increasingly focusing on the television market.
As a result of deals that Shazam has struck with TV networks including Comcast Corp's NBC Universal and with advertisers, consumers can point their cell phones to their TV sets during certain television shows and commercials to access perks such as special offers and additional videos.
Fisher said he expects revenue from the TV business to account for 50 percent of Shazam's revenue in two years. And the company said it is on track to have 250 million users within two years.
DN Capital, an existing Shazam investor, is also participating in the company's latest funding round.
(With additional reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)