New Delhi: Twitter rival ‘Koo’ is adding prominent names like BookMyShow CEO Ashish Hemrajani and Zerodha’s Nikhil Kamat to its list of investors. These additions will give the home-grown social networking platform more firepower to drive its growth. ‘Koo’ emphasised that it is a fully ‘Aatmanirbhar’ app with Indian founders and India registration. China’s Shunwei – which had invested in the company for an earlier product – will fully exit with other investors buying the stake.
‘Koo’ has, in the last few weeks, seen a massive surge in user base. Union Ministers and government departments have endorsed the homegrown microblogging platform amid a spat with Twitter.
From the IT Ministry using Koo to express its displeasure over Twitter not fully complying with its order to take down inflammatory content, to ministers like Piyush Goyal, who urged people to move to Koo – these developments have led to a surge in the userbase of the Indian rival. Koo now has over three million users and downloads of the app have surged 10-fold this week.
Koo co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna said a set of Indian entrepreneurs are investing in Koo. Ashish Hemrajani from BookMyShow (founder and CEO), Vivekananda Hallekere of Bounce (CEO and co-founder), Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha (co-founder) amongst various others are entering the cap table of the company, he said.
“It is a clear indication that the company is getting more and more Indian money into the company. The recent investment of USD 4.1 million in Bombinate Technologies – Koo’s parent company was led by 3one4 Capital, an Indian investor,” Radhakrishna said. He added that China’s Shunwei had not participated in the latest round of funding.
Radhakrishna noted that Shunwei which had invested in the company for the earlier product ‘Vokal’ (which answers user questions in Indian languages) – will be exiting fully with the new investors buying their stake. “Existing investors including 3one4 Capital, Kalaari and others will also be buying out some of the stake. Koo is a fully Aatmanirbhar app with Indian founders and India registration,” he added.
Koo was founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka. It was launched last year to allow users to express themselves and engage on the platform in Indian languages. It supports multiple languages including Hindi, Telugu and Bengali, among others.
Radhakrishna had founded online cab booking service ‘TaxiForSure’ that was later sold to Ola.
Last week, Koo – which is backed by former Infosys executive TV Mohandas Pai – had raised USD 4.1 million in series A funding from Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream Incubator, and 3one4 Capital.
The company is also strongly positioning the app as part of India’s self-reliant journey, as it rides on the growing sentiments for indigenous products and services.
Radhakrishna had earlier stated that the company had raised capital 2.5 years ago, and that the latest infusion of USD 4.1 million in Bombinate Technologies (parent company of Koo) was led by ‘Indian investor 3one4 capital’.