Indian startups are going through an anticipated and inevitable phase of consolidation as the toll of Covid-19 has hurt several businesses in the past five-six months. In another instance, vernacular social media platform ShareChat has announced the acquisition of hyperlocal information platform Circle Internet for an undisclosed sum.
According to a press statement, post the acquisition, the 15-member team of Circle Internet will join ShareChat’s team but will function independently.
Backed by the likes of SAIF Partners and Venture Highway, Circle Internet provides local information in local languages in tier-II and tier-III markets and currently has a presence in more than 120 districts across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala. The platform brings a network of over 1000 volunteers to contribute towards the hyperlocal content ecosystem.
Shashank Shekhar, Gaurav Agrawal and Uchit Kumar, who started the Bengaluru-based startup in 2018, Circle Internet had raised around Rs 30 crore in its Series A funding round led by Venture Highway with participation from SAIF and Rahul Mehta. SAIF had also infused Rs 3.41 crore in the startup’s seed round in September 2018.
Circle Internet will leverage ShareChat’s wide reach, expertise in vernacular market and content serving algorithms to reach out to the majority of the districts across India. Previously, Shekhar was heading content operations at ShareChat before he started Circle Internet. Now, he will be heading the overall content strategy for ShareChat.
Recently, ShareChat’s newly launched short video app Moj was in the headlines for surpassing 50 million downloads within 45 days of launch.
This is the third acquisition for ShareChat in 2020. In April, it acquired meme sharing app Memer and took over fashion peer-to-peer marketplace Elanic in February to foray into social commerce. In 2019, it also acquired users of video-sharing app Clip in an all-cash deal.
The Ankush Sachdeva-led firm has also been planning to raise funds for the past couple of months and is reportedly in talks with Sequoia, Microsoft and Google to raise around $150-200 million.