Tech

ShareChat valued at $2.1 billion in $502 million fundraise

ShareChat said on Thursday it has raised a new financing round that values it at over $2 billion, joining four other local startups in attaining the unicorn status this week.

The Indian social network said it has raised $502 million in a new financing round — Series E — led by Tiger Global that valued ShareChat at $2.1 billion, up from about $650 million last year. Snap and existing investor Twitter also participated in the round, said ShareChat, which has raised about $765 million to date.

The startup began engaging with investors for the new financing round about 10 months ago, and explored a full buy out deal with Twitter, which didn’t materialize, TechCrunch reported earlier.

ShareChat, which claims to have over 160 million users, offers its social network app in 15 Indian languages and has a large following in small Indian cities and towns, or what venture capitalist Sajith Pai of Blume Ventures refer as “India 2.” Very few players in the Indian startup ecosystem have a reach to this segment of this population, which thanks to users from even smaller towns and villages — called “India 3” — getting online has expanded in recent years.

Last year, the Bangalore-based startup launched Moj, a short-form video app that it says has already amassed over 80 million monthly active users to fill the void left after New Delhi banned TikTok, which counted India as its biggest international market prior to being blocked. Snap inked a deal with ShareChat to integrate its Camera Kit into the Indian short-video app earlier this year. (Thursday’s deal is Snap’s first investment in an Indian startup.)

Moj competes with a handful of players including Times Internet’s MX TakaTak, which currently leads the market with over 100 million monthly active users, and Glance’s Roposo and DailyHunt’s Josh — both of which received funding from Google late last year.

In recent years, ShareChat has started to experiment with monetization. On its app, for instance, ShareChat allows commerce platforms to interact with customers via its audio chat rooms.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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