Domestic social media platform ShareChat has joined the Unicorn Club with its latest round of investment funding. It is the 5th tech startup, and the 9th company to achieve Unicorn status this year. Legally under Mohalla Tech, ShareChat and its younger sibling platform Moj aims to capture the regional content creation and sharing market in India.
Founded in 2015 by Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh and Farid Ahsan, ShareChat is the Bangalore based Social Media and regional content sharing platform. Its parent company also has a dedicated short video platform called Moj, less than a year old. Moj was launched only days after the Indian Government banned Tiktok, and is propped up to replace it with an indigenous platform.
Both these platforms compete mainly with other platforms like Dailyhunt’s Josh, InMobi’s Roposo and others. ShareChat primarily targets the regional audience of India, instead of the usual English speaking demographic.
ShareChat allows users to create, post and share their content, whether it be photos, short videos or others. Unlike the giants like Instagram or Facebook, ShareChat focuses primarily on vernacular speakers and is present in over 15 regional languages including Malayalam, Tamil and others. ShareChat claims over 160 million monthly active users(MOUs), and Moj boasts over 80 MOUs as of April 2021. They also have over 100 Million downloads on Play Store, with over 2 Million users giving it a 4.3-star rating.
Despite its growing popularity, ShareChat spends a lot of capital improving its platform and trying to capture market share. They had reported losses of over ₹1253 Crores in FY2020, mainly due to their spending and efforts to outperform its competitors on the market. They registered a mere ₹9.4 Crore earnings, of which over 95% came from the sale of advertising space based on views and impressions.
Despite these numbers, they have consistently attracted giant backers and investors during all their investment rounds. They raised over half a billion dollars in their latest funding round, pushing them to Unicorn status. The round was led by Tiger Global, with Social Media giants Twitter and Snap Inc. also supporting the firm. This continued support is a result of the market potential of an Indian Social Media platform that caters to the majority of people who speak various local languages.
CEO and Co-Founder Akash Sachdeva has conveyed the decision of the company to use this investment to expand their user base and improve the overall app experience. Their current priorities lie in popularizing the app, even more, to gain new users, supporting the content creator community on the platform and improve upon its existing AI engine to provide better recommendations.
India has an immense market for online platforms that cater to non-English speakers. This can only be satisfied with indigenous startups like ShareChat, and their success will depend on how much of this market they can tap into. Though their revenue does not paint a pretty picture right now, their growing popularity among users and investors are their biggest strengths.