- India-based social media platform ShareChat recently announced it raised $100 million in funding led by Twitter at a reported $650 million valuation.
ShareChat is an India-based social media platform that is used by 60 million users every month in their regional languages. According to TechCrunch, Twitter led a $100 million Series D round in ShareChat, bringing the total raised in funding to $224 million. And according to TechCrunch’s sources, this round of funding gave ShareChat a $650 million valuation.
TrustBridge Partners and existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital also joined.
“Twitter and ShareChat are aligned on the broader purpose of serving the public conversation, helping the world learn faster and solve common challenges. This investment will help ShareChat grow and provide the company’s management team access to Twitter’s executives as thought partners,” said Manish Maheshwari, the managing director of Twitter India.
The company was founded by CEO Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Farid Ahsan. The trio of founders met in college at IIT Kanpur.
Interestingly, what is working well for the app is the fact that it does not support English. In an earlier version of the platform, it did support English and many people had it selected as their default language even though they did not know it. This led to a drop in engagement. Of the 1.3 billion people in India, around 10% are able to speak English. But Hindi is spoken and understood by nearly half the population.
Initially, the founders came up with the idea for creating a debate platform upon looking at discussions that were happening in Facebook Groups. Some of the most popular conversations were around cricket and movie stars so they created WhatsApp groups and posted links to those groups on Facebook to gain users. Then they built chatbots for users to provide smartphone recommendations. However, the users did not care for the smartphone recommendations and they simply wanted content like jokes, food recipes, ringtones, etc.
This is when the team decided to pivot from chatbots and launch an app where users could easily produce and share content in languages that they could understand. And when India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani launched a new telecommunications network called Reliance Jio offering users access to vast amounts of data at no charge for extended periods of time, ShareChat became a go-to platform for sharing photos and videos.
ShareChat is experimenting with ads to monetize the service, but it is mostly focused on growing its user base. The company has a goal of doubling its user base in India in the next year.
With this round of funding, the company is planning to build up its technology infrastructure and hire more talent. The plan is to also open an office in San Francisco to hire engineers.
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