Kik Raises $19.5M, Aims to Become Platform with Third Party Cards Soon

Waterloo-based Kik messenger recently announced it had surpassed 50 million users. Today it has confirmed the company has raised $19.5 million in Series B funding (via TechCrunch), to further develop itself to surpass messaging giants such as WhatsApp, which last week confirmed it had more users than Twitter.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Kik CEO Ted Livingston, an ex-BlackBerry employee, said his company is focused on long term goals for messaging, opposed to the strict focus of WhatsApp, which relies on just messaging and has no interest in becoming a platform:

“There are two sides to it. On one side, they’re massive, they’re killing it, no question they’re bigger than Twitter. There never was a question in my mind that they’re bigger than Twitter,” he said. “But when asked about being a platform, [CEO Jan Koum] just completely dismissed it. He said it wouldn’t be good for WhatsApp’s users, and that the company wants to focus, but also knowing that Kakao has had incredible success doing just that.”

Livingston compares WhatsApp ignoring the idea of becoming a platform akin to BlackBerry dismissing the iPhone and the App Store. He told Forbes Kik will open up its Cards platform (HTML5 apps within the app) to third party developers “later this year”. The Cards feature, introduced last fall, has had over 25 million installs by Kik users.

What do you think about the future of messaging apps? Do you want to them to concentrate on messaging itself (like WhatsApp) or develop into a platform, like what Kik is envisioning?