google: ShareChat parent raises $255 million from Google, Times Group, others; valuation jumps to $5 billion


Mumbai/Bengaluru: Mohalla Tech, which owns local language social media network ShareChat and short-video platform Moj, has raised $255 million ( Rs 1,990 crore) in a fresh round of funding from online search giant Google and the Times Group, the company said on Thursday.

Existing backers like Temasek also participated in the latest round, which comes at a time when investors have become skittish amid a funding winter.

ShareChat is now valued at $5 billion which is 35% higher than its previous round when it picked up $266 million from investors including Alkeon Capital, Temasek, HarbourVest, Moore Strategic Ventures, and India Quotient in December 2021. In February this year, Times Internet-owned MX Takatak merged with ShareChat’s Moj

to create one of the largest short-video platforms in the country. The Times group publishes the Economic Times and is the parent of Times Internet.

ShareChat turned a unicorn last year and has
collectively raised $913 million in 2021 when record funding was amassed by Indians startups topping $36 billion, as per data from UK based Preqin.

The fundraise underscores the capital-intensive nature of the short-video sector. Moj competes directly with Josh run by VerSe Innovation which closed a $805 million funding led by existing investor Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Google is an investor in VerSe Innovation too.

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Across ShareChat, Moj and MX Takatak, Mohalla Tech caters to 400 million users, the company said in a statement.

“We are excited to announce the closing of our funding round and adding Google and the Times Group to our cap table. We are also happy and grateful to see Temasek reaffirming its faith in us for the third time in a year. Despite strong headwinds, it is reassuring to see investor confidence in ShareChat’s efforts and potential to grow further,” said Ankush Sachdeva, founder and CEO, Mohalla Tech.

“ Over a year ago, we turned unicorn, and since then, we have been scaling and innovating and further refining our offerings and expanding our operations. The coming year will be about capitalizing on the scale and building robust revenue models.”

ShareChat counts US social media majors like Twitter and Snap Inc among its investors.

ET reported earlier that
TikTok parent Bytedance has exited VerSe Innovation selling its share at a 56% discount. The Chinese technology major is also
looking to re-enter India through a potential new partnership with the Hiranandani group, ET reported on June 1.

According to ShareChat, it has been focussed on monetisation in the last one year and has seen growth in its revenue. It has built a diversified monetisation avenue beyond advertising including virtual gifting and video commerce. Virtual gifting has seen strong adoption on ShareChat and the Bengaluru-based firm said the business is at an annualised revenue run-rate of $50 million. ShareChat expects this to more than double by the end of the year.

Platforms like MX TakaTak, Moj, and Josh came into prominence after India banned a slew of Chinese apps including TikTok in 2020 following border hostilities with China. Meta-owned Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are among the apps that compete with the local players and have been growing through engagement and user base post the ban

of TikTok.

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