Twitter clone Koo app is in advanced talks with New York-based Tiger Global Management for the new funding round. Desi Twitter alternative Koo is looking to raise $25-30 million funding in the new round. The new social media app got immense popularity after the Indian government’s spat with Twitter.
Few Indian Government Ministers like Piyush Goyal has joined the Koo app. Not only they join but they also requested their followers to sign up for the new microblogging site. Kangana Ranaut, one of the Hollywood actress and the strong support of the current Government, has also requested her fans to join the Koo app.
Who is Participating in the Coming Funding Round?
As per the CapTable report related to the coming funding round, Tiger Global’s investment interest in the Koo app will encourage other investors also to join the Koo funding round Naval Ravikant, an early investor in Twitter and Clubhouse, is also in advanced discussions with Koo officials for the investment. Balaji Srinivasan, another known investor and cryptocurrency specialist, is also looking to support Koo in the coming funding round. These two individual investments will be closed before Tiger Global funding round.
If it is executed, Tiger Global funding round will increase the valuation of Bombinate Technologies to $100-$125 million. Bombinate is the parent company of the Koo app. Currently, Bombinate has a valuation of $27 million after the latest funding round in February.
With the help of raised funds, the Koo app wants to add new features to the existing platform. First, the company is planning to add 22 languages to the current app. The company plans to do so in the current year. These languages will help the Koo app to reach more audiences. Second, the Koo app wants to woo an international audience with the new technology.
Talking about the new languages to offer, CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told to Economic Times:
“We have been growing steadily and are close to five million downloads and our monthly active users would be around half of that number. Our largest communities are in English and Hindi followed by Kannada, Marathi and Telugu, but we are planning to go deeper into Indian languages.”
He further added:
“The voice of the Indian language speaker is absent on the internet and that is our primary thing to solve. We are coming up with new features. One of the things is multilingual Kooning, which would enable users to post content in two languages through auto-translation. This is a very unique Indian need and the first time that a social media platform would be doing this. We will be in all official 22 Indian languages this year.”
What Koo CEO Says about the Future Expensions?
Koo has plans to offer contents in Urdu and Sanskrit in the existing languages of the microblogging platform. Koo is also planning to introduce content in Urdu and Sanskrit. Currently, the Koo app is limited to the eight Indian languages and English.
Radhakrishna further revealed that the company is on the way to implement General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines of the European continent. Once it is done, the Koo app will be available in Europe also.
Talking about the International expansion, the CEO said:
“We want to build Indian technology and take it to the world. There are enough countries across the world that have more than 90% population that does not know English. We will go global not just for Indians, but also for other countries. We will also introduce other overseas languages over time. But, first, the focus is on Indian and Indian languages. Our growth will always be deeper in India.”.
Clarifications Related to China Connection and Privacy Issues
Koo app was in news due to its funding link connected to China. 2 week ago, Chinese investor Shunwei Capital has existed from Bombinate Technologies.
Existing investors including former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamath joined hands together to buy the 10% stake of Shunwei in the Bombinate.
Koo app privacy issue was raised in the Indian Parliament. Radhakrishna also talked about the hacking attempts done on the app to compromise the privacy of users. He also informed that more local leaders from Karnataka has joined the Indian app.
“Right now, we have hacking attempts every single day from countries like Pakistan, China, Japan, Russia and Nigeria. And we can make sure we are safe.”
He also talked about the social media guidelines set by Indian authorities. He said:
“Otherwise, an international platform could have said I will give you more freedom of speech and allowed anything to be said. Now, there are rules in place. That’s good for us. As a small company registered in India, we respect the laws of the land. And now with these guidelines, everybody else also, irrespective of where they are operating from, will have to follow the laws of the land.”
When asked about hate speech and fake news on the internet and social media. He in detail talked about how the Koo app is handling such issues.
“We have got freshly drafted guidelines for the community, which are now live on the website and the app. These clearly define what is against the laws of the land. All of this is in the right direction. We want to be in a very positive space. We will do our best to make sure that people benefit a lot more. We don’t want any users getting harmed.”