Clubhouse, Koo

The Nigerian government has signed up on India’s micro-blogging alternative Koo

India’s Twitter alternative Koo is working on its own Spaces-like audio feature and is planning to launch it in a month, its founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told Moneycontrol.

“We will have a group audio feature in the Koo app soon, in a month maximum,” Radhakrishna said.

The company’s move to start an audio feature comes at a time when social audio apps are gaining popularity. For instance, India is the largest Android market for Clubhouse with over 10 lakh users in the start of June 2021.

Homegrown platforms such as Leher and FireSide, Tiktok clone Chingari, are also gaining traction. Sumit Ghosh, co-founder, Chingari, said that FireSide has seen close to 4 lakh downloads since its launch in late March.

Global players too have got on this social audio bandwagon. Starting from Twitter’s Spaces to Facebook, Spotify and LinkedIn are looking to tap into the growing market for audio social network.

Koo is also eyeing markets outside India and is now looking to grow its market in Nigeria, where the Nigerian government banned Twitter and has started using Koo.

Recently, Koo raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global in which existing investors such as Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures, 3one4 Capital and Dream Incubator also participated, the company has said. IIFL and Mirae Assets are the two new investors.

The funding round values Koo closer to $150 million.

“We have aggressive plans to grow into one of the world’s largest social media platforms in the next few years. Every Indian is cheering for us to get there soon. Tiger Global is the right partner to have on board to realise this dream,” Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna said.

The funding comes at a time when bigger rival Twitter is locked in a tussle with the Indian government over various issues, including the IT rules, which came into effect recently.

In March, prominent Silicon Valley Investors Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan invested in Koo.

Koo has six million users, of which 1 million were added in the last one month. Founded in March 2020, the micro-blogging platform has been gaining traction over the last few months. The interest has also come on the back of increased friction between the Indian government and Twitter. Several Union ministers including Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javedkar have joined the platform.

“There is space for a neutral or right-leaning social media network. People want to sometimes have simple interactions within their own circles and echo chambers. Koo can provide that. And the founders have shown the ability to build, so investors will always be interested,” said an investor tracking the company, requesting anonymity.

Chinese investor Shunwei Capital exited Bombinate Technologies, the company that owns micro-blogging platform Koo, in April as existing investors and other Indian individuals bought its minority stake in the company. Bombinate Technologies also owns Vokal, a vernacular knowledge sharing app.


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