Chat app Kik to raise $125M through an ICO in September

Messaging app company Kik has revealed that it plans to raise $125 million via its ICO.

The company first announced the plan to hold a token sale in May, taking advantage of a rush of investment based around selling dedicated crypto tokens to investors, and the event will take place from September 12, it confirmed.

Kik has already ‘pre-heated the oven’ by raising $50 million from institutional investors, including ICO-focused Pantera Capital, and it plans to offer the remaining allocation to anyone. Those wanting to buy into Kik’s ‘Kin’ token sale will be registered to register at — which requires passport/social security details, an Ethereum wallet address and other info — before September 9.

Registering means these would-be investors will be ‘white-listed’ and able to take part in the sale by sending Ethereum to the dedicated Kin ICO address on September 12.

Kik is applying a cap on the amount that individuals will be able to purchase — that will be calculated by dividing the $75 million allocation by the number of white-listed people — but it said it will offer those who have registered a chance to any unclaimed coins after September 12.

There’s likely to be a huge amount of interest given how mature Kik is compared to most companies that hold ICOs. The startup, which is based in Canada, was founded in 2009 and it has raised over $120 million from traditional VCs with a ‘unicorn’ valuation of over $1 billion.

Then there’s the business, which is the largest consumer userbase to dip its toes into the ICO waters. Kik claims over 300 million registered users, and 15 million monthly users.

With that in mind, it’ll be a case of getting in as early as you should you wish to take part.

The example of Kyber, a hotly-tipped ICO, shows the rush that investors make when they spot a potential deal. Kyber ‘broke’ Slack — which is commonly used as a platform to communicate with ICO communities — when it signed up over 80,000 users for its community. It closed its white-list early due to the high interest.

Kik plans to use the proceeds of its ICO to develop a monetization system for its messaging app which will allow app developers to be paid based on attention, rather than relying on advertising or in-app commerce. That’s akin to the approach taken by browser-maker Brave, which raised $35 million in an ICO earlier this year for its Basic Attention Token (BAT) that aims to ‘cure’ online advertising.

“Developers would take a percentage of the daily reward in proportion to the number of transactions their service was responsible for,” Kik CEO Ted Livingston [pictured above] explained to TechCrunch in May.

“This creates a reward engine, a beautiful network effect, where the bigger the daily reward, the more services come into the ecosystem, which drives up the daily reward and more digital services. Very quickly this could become a very powerful economic force to bring developers to,” Livingston added.

While Livingston didn’t directly compare ICOs and IPOs when he spoke at our TechCrunch China event in Shenzhen in June, he admitted this token sale could make Kik fully financially independent.

“We didn’t really like the idea of having to sell Kik one day. [As for an IPO,] I hope it’s not required,” he said.

That’s a particularly pertinent point when you look at Snapchat, a hugely visible and popular social media brand that has failed to convince the public markets of its value.