Indian short video platform attracts big backing from Google

Indian short video platform attracts big backing from Google

Google has backed India's ShareChat social media platform in a major funding round that implies a $5 billion valuation of the company – up from a previous valuation of $3.7 billion.

Mohalla Tech, the parent company of ShareChat, has raised almost $300 million in new capital from Alphabet Inc company Google, media company Times Group, and Singapore's Temasek Holdings. 

Sharechat, a leading social media platform in India operating in some 15 languages, enables users to share videos, jokes, songs and social content. It claims a creator community of over 32 million. Although there has been no comment on the sale discussions from any of the participants, according to Reuters a deal might be formally unveiled as soon as next week.

This is an investment that suggests a positive outlook for Indian start-ups in the short video business. Though some digital firms have been struggling to raise funding, short video apps like Moj and Josh (to which Google has also offered its backing) shot up in popularity after an Indian ban on TikTok and some other Chinese apps in 2020. This followed a border clash between India and China.

This appears to be a growing market. ShareChat currently claims 180 million monthly active users. Moj and another short video app, MX TakaTak, which was recently acquired by Mohalla Tech, are said to have a combined user base of 300 million.

Reuters points put that ShareChat counts Twitter and Snap among its investors, which means that Elon Musk could, in theory, end up with a stake of between 6% and 8% in ShareChat if his bid to buy Twitter goes through.

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