ShareChat has raised more than half a billion dollars to expand its short-video app Moj, months after the Indian government banned its biggest rival TikTok.
Mohalla Tech, the parent of the social media platform, raised $502 million in a fresh funding round led by Tiger Global Management and existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. Besides, Snap and another existing investor Twitter participated, valuing the startup at $2.1 billion, it said in a blogpost on Thursday. This takes the total fundraise by the startup to about $766 million over six rounds.
ShareChat also became the ninth startup to join the nation’s unicorn club. In this week alone, four startups — social commerce app Meesho, fintech firms Cred & Groww, and E-pharmacy startup, PharmEasy—have raised funds at a valuation of more than $1billion.
“This capital will help us accelerate our journey of building India’s largest AI-powered content ecosystem,” Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder of ShareChat, said on Twitter.
Scott Shleifer, partner at Tiger Global, in a statement, said as internet penetration increases, ShareChat’s leading content creation platform is poised to expand dramatically by bridging into online purchases of goods and services. “Additionally, Moj is well-positioned to seize the opportunity presented by the growth of short video in India.”
The five-year-old startup, launched by three IIT Kanpur alumni—Ankush Sachdeva, Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Singh—offers its meme and video-sharing platforms in 15 regional Indian languages and was one of the early players in the regional content space in India. Its nine-month-old Moj is among the array of options that have come up such as Josh, Roposo and TakaTak after India banned ByteDance-owned TikTok.
Google and Microsoft have recently invested in the parent of Josh, while the internet search giant also led a $145-million investment in the parent of Roposo.
“We are at a significant inflection point in our company’s journey — as the internet penetration further deepens in India,” Sachdeva said in the blogpost, adding that the firm is well-positioned to expand its ecosystem of products to more than 1 billion monthly active users. “We have seen how large the short-video market is in China — with around 80% of the entire internet population using one of the short-video products (Douyin, Kuaishou etc) daily.”