At a time when Indian authorities are turning the heat on Twitter, marquee investors including US-based Tiger Global have backed the microblogging site’s Indian alternative app Koo in a $30-million fundraise that will see Koo’s valuation jump nearly five-fold to $100 million.
Koo has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Tiger Global has led the investment round with existing investors Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream Incubator also participating in the round. IIFL and Mirae Assets are other new investors who have come on board the cap table with this round.
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While the fundraising deal would have been closed earlier, the announcement has come in the backdrop of Twitter India’s new clash with the Indian government. Most notably, earlier this week, Delhi Police sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about an alleged ‘COVID toolkit’. The Delhi Police Monday sought a clarification from Twitter in connection with a tweet by BJP’s Sambit Patra about an alleged toolkit released by the Congress party that the microblogging site tagged as “manipulated media”. According to Twitter, it “may label tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated”.
In addition, Koo is seemingly among the few social networking players to have complied with the newly announced IT rules — the deadline to do so being on Wednesday.
Tiger Global has been one of the leading investors in the Indian startup ecosystem having backed 20 unicorns from India including Flipkart, Ola, Razorpay, Cred, etc. In the latest spree of funding, Tiger Global has been backing startups such as messaging platform Gupshup, ShareChat, and is reportedly in talks to fund Indian social network Kutumb. With Koo, Tiger Global has invested in a company with 6 million downloads (up from 3 million in February) and that has been supported by Indian government and the leaders of the ruling BJP. Koo also offers the ability to post in languages other than English and Hindi such as Marathi, Tamil and Kannada.
In a statement, Koo said that the fresh round of funding will be utilised mainly to strengthen engineering, product and community efforts across all Indian languages at Koo.
Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-Founder and CEO of Koo, said: “We have aggressive plans to grow into one of the world’s largest social media platforms in the next few years. Every Indian is cheering for us to get there soon. Tiger Global is the right partner to have on board to realize this dream.”