It is very rare that we hear of a UK technology firm that achieves global success at great scale and retains its ownership in Britain – so interesting to hear that music discovery app Shazam has unveiled almost €30m of new investment for just under 3% of its shares, meaning (it believes) it is the first UK mobile application to break the billion dollar valuation barrier.
Shazam’s service is a mobile app which listens to a song and almost instantly identifies the track and artist name. With over 100 million active monthly users, the app is rumoured to originate around 10% of total global digital music sales.
Shazam has two other revenue streams – mobile advertising and deals which involve using the audible technology as a promotional tool. It is already being used in US television advertising to generate promotions and vouchers upon activation of the app.
The company and its core management team have been operating for over a decade, and are firmly established on both sides of the Atlantic: founder and executive chairman Andrew Fisher is based in London, overseeing app development; chief executive Rich Riley works out of New York, concentrating on the firm’s advertising function; and there is another research team based out in Silicon Valley.
But just how long will the company manage to stay British-owned, under inevitable pressure from venture capitalists for an exit? And will this billion dollar asset choose an IPO in the UK or, like so many others, be attracted by the bright lights of investors, corporates and the NASDAQ across the pond?