India’s social media platform ShareChat, which serves 60 million monthly users, has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round, as reported on Thursday (Aug. 15).
The funding was led by Twitter, along with TrustBridge Partners and existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital.
The latest funds put ShareChat’s valuation at about $650 million, according to a source. ShareChat declined to comment.
“Twitter and ShareChat are aligned on the broader purpose of serving the public conversation, helping the world learn faster and solve common challenges. This investment will help ShareChat grow and provide the company’s management team access to Twitter’s executives as thought partners,” Manish Maheshwari, managing director of Twitter India, said in a prepared statement.
Although ShareChat is available in 15 regional languages, there are no plans to support English, Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder and CEO of the firm, told the reporting news outlet. The social media platform supported English when it first rolled out, which most users seemed to prefer. However, engagement dropped.
“For some reason, everyone wanted to converse in English. There was an inherent bias to pick English even when they did not know it,” he said.
About 10 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people speak English. Hindi, a regional language, is spoken by about half a billion people, the article said. The average ShareChat user interacts with the platform about 22 minutes daily, Sachdeva said. Dropping English led to the app’s growth.
Silicon Valley firms consider India a key tech player and are increasingly putting their money in startups there.
Facebook’s WhatsApp is poised to roll out in India, but The National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) is reviewing an audit report to ensure the app’s compliance with local rules. The review will determine if and when WhatsApp can enter the country’s crowded digital market, where it will compete with more than 80 rivals on the NPCI platform, including Google and Amazon. India’s digital payments market is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2023, according to a report by Credit Suisse Group AG.