June 17, 2014 / 10:09 AM / 4 years ago

SoftBank Capital invests in Kony; move will boost Kony's Asia presence

SoftBank Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son leaves a news conference in Urayasu, east of Tokyo June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The venture capital arm of Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T) is investing in enterprise mobile company Kony Inc, Kony said in a statement on Tuesday.

SoftBank Capital will lead the $50 million financing round, Kony’s largest to date, with existing and new investors including Insight Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures and Georgian Partners.Founded by Raj Koneru in 2007, Kony generates nearly $100 million of revenue and is on the path to an initial public offering, a source close to the company said on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

“We have known of the company for a couple of years, we have been talking with the company more seriously about an investment over the last six or nine months,” Steve Murray, a partner at SoftBank Capital, said in a phone interview.

The new financing is expected to allow Kony to get closer to profitability and expand its presence further in Asia, particularly Japan, through SoftBank’s connections.

“In Asia we have a very strong business,” said John Joyce, Kony’s vice chairman and chief financial officer. “With the help of SoftBank we will hopefully expand that. Japan would obviously be one area where Steve and his team will help us with.”

Florida-based Kony calls itself the fastest-growing cloud-based mobile application development platform, helping companies and other clients build apps for smartphones and tablets. It serves 20 million mobile app users across 45 countries each day.

Last year, Kony added 100 new customers including Aetna Inc (AET.N), Anheuser-Busch (ABI.BR), Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), the Coca-Cola Co (KO.N), Sirius XM (SIRI.O), SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) and US Foods Inc [USFOO.UL].

Kony has spent the last few months building its executive management bench. It appointed Thomas Hogan, former executive vice president of software at Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), as chief executive officer and Joyce, a former IBM veteran, as its vice chairman and CFO.

SoftBank Capital has been steadily building its startup investment portfolio, which has included companies in industries from social media to online retail.

Reporting by Nadia Damouni and Olivia Oran; Editing by Edwin Chan, Lisa Shumaker and Bernadette Baum

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