Vernacular language social media platform ShareChat has raised $35-40 million in an internal financing round from existing investors including Lightspeed India, according to four people familiar with the details of the transaction.
The fresh financing comes almost a month after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, leading to a sudden uptick in usage of other local language social media apps including ShareChat and its newly-launched short video app Moj.
“The infusion was done to gain momentum after the ban of 59 China-linked apps,” said one of the sources, requesting anonymity. “In the absence of apps such as TikTok, the company is hoping to capitalize on the gap that has been created.”
This internal round will help ShareChat drive adoption of its core platform along with Moj that is expected to cross the 50 million downloads mark in a few weeks from now.
Within days of the ban on the Chinese apps following a violent clash on the northern border, ShareChat had built and launched a short video app Moj, a TikTok-clone. Moj along with other short video apps such as MX TakaTak, DailyHunt’s Josh, Roposo, Trell, Chingari and Mitron has been experiencing a hockey-stick growth in the number of downloads and usage.
Meanwhile, ShareChat has also assigned Morgan Stanley as its banker as it looks to raise a larger amount of money from new investors, said one of the persons cited above. The round size could go over $100 million, he added.
“The company is also exploring a potential set of new investors who can infuse more capital, but it is unclear if this will happen because monetization remains to be a challenge for ShareChat,” said the person mentioned above. He requested anonymity as he’s not authorised to speak to the media.
While existing backers such as Lightspeed India have participated in the internal round, it is not clear if its Chinese investors such as Shunwei and Xiaomi have also been part of it since investment from China now requires prior approval from the government.
Entrackr’s queries sent to Lightspeed, Shunwei and SAIF Partners didn’t elicit any response until the publication of this story. We will update the post as and when they respond. A ShareChat spokesperson said, “there has been no such development at this time.”
ShareChat last raised $100 million from Twitter and existing backers in August 2019. The Bengaluru-based company also has TrustBridge Partners, Xiaomi, Shunwei Capital and India Quotient on its cap table.
Other local-language social media apps that are currently in the process of raising money include Trell which is in talks to raise $10 million. Earlier this month, Mitron TV raised $2 million in a round led by Nexus Venture Partners.