In a week that saw the making of unicorns, short video app Moj and Indic language social media platform ShareChat parent Mohalla Tech joined the club with its latest fundraise of $502 million, valuing the company at a little over $2.1 billion.
The investment has been led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter and India Quotient amongst others, the firm said in a statement.
This is also the fifth Indian firm to hit the unicorn or $1 billion valuation this week. Others include social commerce firm Meesho, online investment firm Groww, fintech Cred, and online pharmacy Pharmeasy.
“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 & Moj, we are well-positioned to build the largest AI-powered content ecosystem in India,” said Ankush Sachdeva, CEO and Co-founder, ShareChat.
He added that the firm will use the latest fundraise to expand in India and the US, and strengthen its artificial intelligence powered recommendation engine, platform health and creator community.
Sachdeva also posted in a blog post about the firm’s journey.
Mohalla Tech is the brainchild of Sachdeva, along with his friends from IIT-Kanpur Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Singh. The three met in 2012, when they participated in a hackathon.
“We built 14 products while being in college — and failed 14 times to get it off the ground,” Sachdeva said in the post.
It was in November 2014 that they discovered interest-based WhatsApp groups in India. “We discovered that Indian users were hungry for finding content in their own language.
They were sharing their phone numbers publicly on FB (Facebook) in the hope to get added to an interest-based local language group on WhatsApp. We tried creating/joining 10–15 such groups and saw users using it for all kinds of purposes — getting news, joining celeb fan clubs, finding new jokes, shayaris, devotional content etc.,” Sachdeva said.
That is how ShareChat was born in January 2015. “a simple app to find trending content in Indian languages with a baked-in viral loop” and allowed a one-tap share to WhatsApp.
ShareChat currently has 160 million monthly active users, serving 15 Indian languages
Moj, which launched in July 2020, is already a name to reckon with in the short video app space, helped in part by the exit of TikTok from India.
Sachdeva said short videos were growing in popularity on ShareChat and on other platforms in the past couple of years and understood that there was big appetite for this format.
As several China-based short video apps got banned in last year in June, Moj was born. “We built the app in 30 hours. Scaled it to 120 million MAUs in 9 months,” Sachdeva said.
The company expects to reach 1 billion MAUs on both its platforms combined.
Mohalla Tech has until now raised over $766 million across six fundraising rounds, enabling ShareChat to substantially grow and differentiate itself by delivering a unique, tech-led social media experience.
“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,” said Scott Shleifer, Partner at Tiger Global.