Can ShareChat Bag An Investment From Google Amid The Rising Popularity of Short-Video Apps?

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After TikTok had to forcefully exit India – its biggest market outside China – many home-grown apps quickly jumped into this space to attract the millions of stranded users.

Now, in order to get ahead of the competition, Bengaluru-based ShareChat, which owns a TikTok clone named ‘Moj’ and a regional language social media platform that competed with the recently banned Helo, is currently seeking to raise $150-200 million and has been reported to be in talks with Google!

Like every other ‘Made-In-India’ TikTok clone, ShareChat too found themselves in a sweet spot in terms of new sign-ups, daily active users and overall user engagement as soon as the ByteDance owned platform wrapped up its business from India. Thus, after realising they are currently worth way more and that their valuation has significantly risen, the company is now looking to raise funds under the advocacy of JPMorgan.

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Sources who are closely linked to the ongoing discussions have revealed that the deal with Google is still in a preliminary stage and will take some time to solidify. Nonetheless, ShareChat, which counts the popular microblogging platform Twitter as one of its investors, has been holding discussions with many other firms as well.

Some news outlets have reported that the company has also been in talks with Microsoft along with its existing investors SAIF Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. When reached out for a comment, ShareChat has said that they do not have any statements to share on “market speculation” while there has been no response from Google. JP Morgan has declined to comment as well.

Ankush Sachdeva, Chief Executive – ShareChat, in an interview last week, said the company has lately been witnessing a lot of inbound interest and therefore has started talking to everyone including some major global players.

He also mentioned that ShareChat definitely stands to benefit from how ‘things changed’ after the ban and thus they are hoping to make the best out of it.

As for Google, CEO Sundar Pichai, in the month of July, announced a $10 billion India Digitisation Fund wherein most of it will be invested in promising Indian companies over the next 5-7 years. Thus, the chances of ShareChat bagging a piece of it seems pretty likely. 

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The Rise of Short Video Apps In India

Since the Chinese-origin TikTok got banned in India, more than a dozen short-video apps sprouted really quickly. These apps which include Dailyhunt’s Josh, MX Player’s TakaTak, Roposo, Chingari and more are all vying for grabbing the top spot.

Similar to ShareChat, some of them are looking for raising funds as well. For instance, Chingari has been reported to be is in talks with many venture firms to raise $10 million in Series A round of funding while MitronTV has already raised a seed funding of Rs 2 crores.

Despite the absence of TikTok from the market, users’ engagement is still one of the major challenges for all the TikTok alternatives. Users feel that none of the TikTok alternatives is able to provide similar feel, features and benefits as offered by TikTok.

Now, it remains to be seen which platform wins the race of getting the lion’s share of the user base, keeping in mind that TikTok might just make a comeback if it gets acquired by Microsoft or if Reliance Industries ends up buying its India operations. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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