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Koo Closes Down; Co-Founders Cite High Operational Costs and Funding Issues Koo will now evaluate making its assets into a digital public good to enable social conversations in native languages around the world.

By Paromita Gupta

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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Social media app Koo has shut down its operations as the company failed to find a buyer, according to the company's co-founder, Apramyea Radhakrishna's LinkedIn post.

"We explored partnerships with multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses, but these talks didn't yield the outcome we wanted. Most of them didn't want to deal with user-generated content and the wild nature of a social media company," Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka said in a LinkedIn post.

As per Radhakrishna, Koo looked into M&A possibilities with media conglomerates, big internet companies, and big businesses, but nothing worked out.

"While we would've liked to keep the app running, the cost of technology services to keep a social media app running is high, and we've had to take this tough decision," Radhakrishna wrote in the post.

Radhakrishna and Bidawatka founded Koo in 2019, and it was first made available in March 2020. It became well-known during the 2021 Twitter (now X) takedown dispute between the Indian government and the platform over demands to remove content relating to farmer protests.

In November 2022, the microblogging site also ventured into Brazil.

The founders stated on LinkedIn that they created a "globally scalable product with superior systems, algorithms, and strong stakeholder-first philosophies in a fraction of the time that X/Twitter did."

"We were just months away from beating Twitter in India in 2022 and could have doubled down on that short-term goal with capital behind us," according to the founders.

As per the founders' post, Koo will now evaluate making its assets into a digital public good to enable social conversations in native languages around the world.

"This is very difficult and complicated tech and we've built it painstakingly in record time. We will be happy to share some of these assets with someone with a great vision for India's foray into social media," they added.

At its peak, Koo reportedly had over 10 million monthly active users in addition to about 2.1 million daily active users, according to the founders. Additionally, the site was said to host over 9,000 VIPs, including some of the most notable figures in a variety of industries.

"In a world where 80% of the population speaks a language other than English, this is a strong need. We wanted to democratise expression and enable a better way to connect people in their local languages. Most global products are dominated by Americans. We believe that India should have a place at the table," the founders added.

So far, the Tiger Global-backed company has raised USD 65 million from Accel, 3one4 Capital, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Kalaari Capital, and several others.

"A prolonged funding winter which hit us at our peak hurt our plans at the time, and we had to tone down on our growth trajectory," the founders said in the LinkedIn post.

"Social media is probably one of the toughest companies to build even with all the resources available, as you need to grow users to a significant scale before one thinks of revenue. We needed 5 to 6 years of aggressive, long-term and patient capital to make this dream a reality," they said.

Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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