Indian innovation is being feted by very, very liberal purse strings, as the unicorn parade continues unabated. On Thursday afternoon, the company that runs the Indian language social media platform ShareChat and short video app Moj announced that its latest funding round has made it a unicorn. Or, in other words, a firm with a valuation of $1 billion (roughly Rs 7,500 crore) or more.
This makes it the fourth Indian startup in as many days to enter the coveted Unicorn Club, an unprecedented feat that speaks volumes for venture capital trust and confidence in India's startup ecosystem. So far, including ShareChat, 9 Indian companies have become unicorns in just the last three-and-a-half months this year.
Bengaluru-based Mohalla Tech, the parent company behind ShareChat and Moj, has raised roughly Rs 3,700 crore in its latest round, raising its valuation to a little over $2 billion. The investment has been led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter and India Quotient, amongst others.
“We are at an exciting inflection point in our journey, where we are going after a massive opportunity with the right team in place and the backing of long-term investors who have a deep conviction in our mission,” ShareChat CEO and co-founder Ankush Sachdeva said, adding, “With ShareChat and Moj, we are well-positioned to build the largest AI-powered content ecosystem in India.”
“We are impressed with the team’s understanding of these rapidly evolving technologies and its ability to execute quickly, and we are excited to partner with them as they continue to build a great company,”commented Tiger Global's Scott Shleifer. The confidence stems from the investor's expectation of ShareChat to rapidly expand its flagship social media platform into e-commerce and services, while the scope for Moj to expand in the wildly popular short video space vacated by TikTok is believed to be exponential.
Founded in 2015, Mohalla Tech has now successfully raised nearly Rs 6,000 crore across six fundraising rounds, enabling ShareChat to substantially grow and differentiate itself as a uniquely Indic social media experience. Furthermore, Moj, launched last year right after the ban on TikTok was announced, has also grown substantially in less than a year. According to company sources, both platforms together have a 28 crore user base.
A NASSCOM study in 2019 had estimated that India will see over 100 unicorns by 2024, with a total valuation in excess of Rs 27 lakh crore.