Regional language social platform ShareChat aims to tap new markets, and work on monetising its service through advertising, influencer marketing, and in-app transactions.
Regional language social platform ShareChat raised Rs 720 crore ($100 million) in a funding round led by existing investor Shunwei Capital. Hong Kong-based Morningside Ventures and Jesmond Holdings, an affiliate of Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global, also participated in the round, documents filed with the Registrar of Companies show.
Other existing backers, including smartphone maker Xiaomi and venture capital firms SAIF Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners, also participated in the round.
While Shunwei invested $32.5 million (Rs 236.5 crore), Morningside Ventures put in $25 million (Rs 180.7 crore). Xiaomi, Lightspeed Partners, SAIF Partners, and others accounted for the rest of the amount. Media reports said that the startup raised this investment at a valuation of $460 million (Rs 3,332 crore).
ShareChat has seen daily active users increase from 5 million in April this year to over 8 million now. But it still remains a far distance from WhatsApp, which boasts over 200 million monthly active users in India. The startup is also trying to bet on mini apps - by building a developer platform. It has already started testing games and will enable people to build mini apps on the platform to solve simple use cases.
The Bengaluru-based startup is looking to foray deeper in markets like the Northeast, and start working on monetising its service next year through advertising, influencer marketing, and in-app transactions.
The homegrown social platform was founded by IIT-Kanpur alumni Ankush Sachdeva, Farid Ahsan, and Bhanu Singh in 2015. It has reportedly raised about $124 million till now. The company has about 50 employees and covers 14 regional languages.
The development comes on the back of increasing concerns and criticism against social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp over fake news and privacy issues.