08 Apr 2021: Indian social media platform ShareChat raises $502 million, becomes unicorn
It's raining unicorns in India. ShareChat is the latest entrant to the billion-dollar club after raising $502 million from Tiger Global Management and LightSpeed Venture Partners. This pegs the Indian social media platform's valuation to $2.1 billion.
The new financial year has exalted five Indian start-ups to the unicorn status this week, with a total of nine hitting the billion-dollar mark this year alone.
Indian unicorn: Funding allows Mohalla Tech to invest in ShareChat and Moj
The funding round fills the coffers of Mohalla Tech - the parent company of ShareChat and Moj - which has raised $766 million so far.
The funds will be used for its regional TikTok replacement Moj, that has managed to garner 120 million monthly active users despite only being launched in July last year. Meanwhile, ShareChat boasts of 160 million on that count.
Fact: Investors bet big on Moj, the regional TikTok alternative
"Moj is well-positioned to seize the opportunity presented by the growth of short video in India. We are impressed with the team's understanding of these rapidly evolving technologies and its ability to execute quickly," said Scott Shleifer, partner at Tiger Global.
Details: Google had considered joining this funding round
Notably, the start-up targets the burgeoning Indian regional language space, with the recent TikTok ban giving it the rare opportunity to fill the void with its short video platform Moj.
Separately, Google was also in talks to join this funding round, but other Silicon Valley behemoths such as Twitter and Snap Inc. instead took its place.
Fact: ShareChat will divert funding to AI recommendation engine and creators
"With this infusion of capital we would continue to aggressively grow our user base, build a world-class organization in India and the US and further strengthen our creator community, artificial intelligence-powered recommendation engine and platform health," said Ankush Sachdeva, CEO and co-founder of ShareChat.
Regional outlook: ShareChat's strategy involves ignoring urban first adopters of internet
ShareChat's unique proposition involves strategically avoiding urban Indian users, who are difficult to convert from the Silicon Valley's offerings.
The social media platform instead targets regional language speakers that constitute the overwhelming majority of growing internet users.
This approach allows it to capitalize on the huge void in supply of regional language alternatives to popular social media platforms.