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Tiger Global leads $30 Mn round in Twitter rival Koo


Indian microblogging platform Koo has raised $30 million in its Series B round led by Tiger Global, taking the company’s valuation to over $100 million. The deal comes amid rising tensions between the Indian government and Koo’s chief rival, Twitter. 

Existing investors Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream Incubator participated in the round in which the company also added two new investors in IIFL and Mirae Assets. 

“The fresh round of funding will be utilized mainly to strengthen engineering, product and community efforts across all Indian languages at Koo,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Koo had shot into the limelight earlier this year after Twitter had defied the Indian government’s orders to block certain accounts related to the farmers’ protests.  Like Twitter, it allows users to share text and multimedia updates and is available in several Indian languages. 

Following Twitter’s defiance — when it refused to block accounts of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians saying that the Indian government’s orders to block these accounts were “not consistent with Indian law”— Koo was promoted by several union ministers such as Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who has tweeted at his users to join Koo, and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who had endorsed the app’s Indian credentials in Parliament. 

Koo, co-founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna, who also founded Taxi For Sure which was sold to Ola, said that it has garnered nearly 6 million downloads. In comparison, Twitter has 17.5 million active users in India. 

On Tuesday, Koo claimed that it has complied with India’s new social media rules. 

“Koo’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Community Guidelines reflect the requirements of the Rules as applicable to significant social media intermediaries,” the company said in a statement. 

“In addition, Koo has implemented a due diligence and grievance redressal mechanism supported by an Indian resident Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Officer and Grievance Officer,” it added.

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