India Gets Its First Social Media Unicorn As ShareChat Raises $502 Mn

The investment has been led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, and India Quotient, among others

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The year 2021 has started on right footing for Indian startup ecosystem, as the country has witnessed the making of nine Unicorns in the first quarter, with the latest entrant being ShareChat. To give a sense of the context, last year, India gave birth to 11 Unicorns.

Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder ShareChat

Mohalla Tech, the parent company behind indigenously built social media platform ShareChat and short video platform Moj, raised $502 million in its latest funding round, pushing its valuation to a little over $2.1 billion.

The investment has been led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, and India Quotient, among others.

Commenting on the financing round, Ankush Sachdeva, chief executive officer and co-founder, ShareChat, said, "We are at an exciting inflection point in our journey, where we are going after a massive opportunity with the right team in place and the backing of long-term investors who have a deep conviction in our mission. With ShareChat and Moj, we are well-positioned to build the largest AI-powered content ecosystem in India."

Talking about the growth and the investment plan, he further added, "With this infusion of capital we would continue to aggressively grow our user base, build a world-class organisation in India and the US, and further strengthen our creator community, AI-powered recommendation engine and platform health."

ShareChat was founded by Sachdeva, Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap Singh in January 2015, after graduating from IIT-Kanpur. ShareChat was built as an indigienious social media platform which boasts of operating in 15 Indic languages including widely spoken Bengali, Marathi Malayalam, Tamil, among others. ShareChat has over 160 million monthly active users.

ShareChat's parent has till date raised $766 million across six fundraising rounds. At present, both ShareChat and Moj both enjoy a robust user base of 280 million users.

Commenting on the investment, Scott Shleifer, partner at Tiger Global, said, "As Internet penetration increases, ShareChat's leading content creation platform is poised to expand dramatically by bridging into online purchases of goods and services. Additionally, Moj is well-positioned to seize the opportunity presented by the growth of short video in India. We are impressed with the team's understanding of these rapidly evolving technologies and its ability to execute quickly, and we are excited to partner with them as they continue to build a great company."

Lightspeed India's Dev Khare said that ShareChat's rise to market leadership in India's social media category has been an accelerating journey involving category creation, world-class team building and product-led growth.

"At Lightspeed, we are excited to have backed Ankush, Bhanu and Farid in every round from the Series A in 2016 onwards," he concluded.