$40 million may not be a lot of money to Carlos Slim, the world's second-richest man (current net worth estimate: $66.3 billion) but his investment in the British app start-up Shazam is novel for several reasons. First, while Slim first made his fortune in the Mexican mobile phone business, he has holdings in lots of industries and companies: Saks, The New York Times, Caixabank, as well as mining and construction firms. But he is not known for investing in start-ups. Second of all, Slim generally does not invest in Europe: some holdings in Dutch and Austrian phone companies didn't work out so well for him, notes Reuters's Sarah Young. "He is nursing huge paper losses after their shares declined sharply in the past year." So, this a non-telecom, non-Mexican investment seems like a bit of a departure from Slim's milieu. But, if you think about it a littler harder it makes some sense.
Shazam Is Making Money. Unlike a lot of other start-ups these days Shazam can boast both user and revenue growth, its chariman Andrew Fisher told The Guardian's Stuart Dredge. Launched originally in 2002 as a way for people to get the name of the song they were listening to, the app's biggest business is connecting viewers of TV advertising with more information. "The impetus for this round was that the business was growing so quickly: faster than it's ever grown before. But revenues are growing very quickly too, so a lot of this growth is being funded organically." The identification app reached $32.5 million in revenues last year, as of June, reported the Financial Times's Henry Mance, and is aiming to hit $1 billion by early 2014. It's not exactly a terrible idea to put in some money to a company gearing up for a big public offering some time in the near future.