Waterloo based startup Kik Interactive has announced it acquired $19.5 million in funding to support the development of its programs and drive the company towards monetization.

Kik Interactive is behind Kik Messenger, an instant messaging app which operates across smartphone platforms.

This latest round of investment is being led by Foundation Capital, which was involved in the growth of the popular internet-based TV and movie provider Netflix.

"This is an extremely exciting time for Kik," said Kik CEO Ted Livingston. "We’re seeing our user base grow like crazy as we continue building out of what we believe is the best one-to-one messaging experience on mobile."

Kik was first created by a team of students at the University of Waterloo and launched in October 2010. The company says over 50 million users are currently using its messenger app.