Instagram Competitor Mobli Gets $60M From Carlos Slim To Build A Visual Search Engine

Mobile picture and video sharing platform Mobli, a competitor to other image-sharing services like Instagram, is today announcing a strategic investment that it hopes will help it catapult itself into the big leagues of mobile apps. Today, it is announcing that América Móvil, the Latin American telco giant led by billionaire Carlos Slim, is leading a new $60 million round in the company. As part of that, Mobli will get distribution with América Móvil’s millions of mobile users. It's an interesting turn for Israel's Mobli, which has had a ton of celebrity endorsement that some might say has been disproportionate to how much it has been used. Before today's news, Mobli had raised approximately $28 million, $22 million of which came from private investor Kenges Rakishev. Approximately $6.5 million has come from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Serena Williams. Mobli works across Android, Windows and iPhone but not poor old BlackBerry. Mobli want to use the cash to launch and expand its visual search engine enabling its users to "see the world through other people’s eyes", and to scroll back in time through previous images. "Mobli has developed a remarkable technology and this strategic alliance will allow América Móvil to bring value added experiences for its users throughout the Americas," Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon behind América Móvil, said in a statement. Slim has been ranked as the richest person in the world, swapping places with Bill Gates as few times for that accolade. He's worth a paltry $66 billion or so. This investment will push Mobli's valuation to around the $1 billion mark, although the company is not disclosing any figures. Moshe Hogeg, founder and CEO of Mobli, says the deal will mean the startup reaching "millions of users in Latin America." And it will. América Móvil is the fourth largest mobile network operator in the world with revenues of $59.3 billion last year and services over 246 million mobile subscribers in 18 countries. Originally launched in 2011, Mobli is a sort of 'Instagram on uppers' allowing users to connect around common interests via other users, hashtags and locations in their feed. Is has a lot of features that latter app does not. Unlike Instagram, when a user wants to post a photo, the Mobli app immediately offers the latest three images added to the gallery. No need to click into it to select which is very convenient. Leonardo DiCaprio said in a canned statement that he has "always been excited by Mobli’s mission to connect people around the world through shared visual images. Today’s announcement means that a massive new community of users will be introduced to an incredible experience of discovery and sharing." With another $60 million they should add caring as well as social sharing...
Mike Butcher

Mike Butcher is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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