Live.me Live-Streaming Startup Raises $60 Million to Take on YouTube, Facebook, Musical.ly

Live.me, a one-year-old startup that makes a live-streaming video app, has banked $60 million from investors including its majority owner, Chinese app developer Cheetah Mobile.

Live.me is in the race for leadership in the live-streaming app space, competing with the likes of YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, Musical.ly’s Live.ly, and YouNow. Cheetah Mobile said it will use the funding to invest in Live.me’s R&D and further improve its overseas operations.

The startup, based in the Cayman Islands, provides video-broadcasting video features with sticker overlays. Users can purchase digital “gifts” like emoji for their favorite live creators. According to Live.me, digital influencers using its platform include Roman Atwood, a popular YouTube prankster and vlogger.

With the funding round, Cheetah Mobile holds about 70% equity interest in Live.me, down from 90% previously, and retains control over the business. Other investors participating included Matrix Partners China, Evolution Media China, Gobi Partners, IDG Capital and Welight Capital.

“Since its launch, Live.me has demonstrated a track record of strong growth in user number, user engagement and number of paying users, particularly in the U.S. market,” Cheetah Mobile CEO Sheng Fu said in announcing the funding. “We will have more resources to build Live.me into a global social community through partnering with top financial institutions.”

Beijing-based Cheetah Mobile develops mobile app utilities, including for security and battery management. The company says it had 623 million mobile monthly active users worldwide as of December 2016, 81% located outside China.

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