Indian social media startup ShareChat that also operates a short video app Moj, is in talks with Snap Inc and Google to raise a new round of funding, which is expected to be over USD 200 million. The Series E funding round will also see participation from its existing investors including Twitter, Techcrunch reported.
Google alone would be put in USD 100 million in ShareChat at a valuation of USD 1 billion, the report added citing sources. This development comes a month after Mountain View, California headquartered tech titan Google was reportedly in discussion with the Bengaluru-based firm to acquire it for a whopping USD 1 billion.
While this would be Snap’s first investment in the Indian startup ecosystem, for Google, investing in ShareChat would mean backing yet another short video app. Late last month, Google wrote checks for local news aggregator platform DailyHunt’s parent VerSe and Glance, a subsidiary of adtech giant InMobi, both of which operate short-video apps. Meanwhile, ShareChat launched its short video app Moj immediately after the ban on Chinese short video app Tik Tok in June 2020.
Since the mid-last year, ShareChat has been out in the market to raise its Series E round. In August, the startup was reported to be in talks with Microsoft and Google to raise USD 150-200 million in fresh funds to expand its then month-old short video app to make it the next TikTok.
A month later, it raised USD 40 million in a pre-Series E round from a clutch of new and existing investors to further product development, grow its creator ecosystem, and establish partnerships with music labels for its new platform Moj. To date, ShareChat has raised about USD 264 million and was reportedly valued at about USD 650 million in September 2020.
That several American tech majors like Microsoft, Google, and Snap have shown interest in six-year-old ShareChat implies their growing appetite in the Indian market. They realize the need to partner with local players to go beyond the top 100-150 million English speaking users. They are now looking to reach out to the next 500 million users from lower-tier Indian cities who prefer to use social media in their regional languages.
ShareChat seems to be the right choice to fuel their ambitions. The startup claims to have 160 million active users on its main social networking app and 80 million on its short video app. According to a recent report by ShareChat, 53% of users prefer to use social media in regional languages and 78% of users from non-metro cities prefer to engage in social media activities like watching and creating content in their leisure time.