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Koo funding

Indian Twitter dupe Koo has raised investment from leading Silicon Valley investors Naval Ravikant, an early investor in Twitter and Clubhouse, and Balaji Srinivasan, former CTO at Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Besides, the company’s upcoming funding round could be led by Tiger Global at a valuation of $100 Mn, according to other reports.

Koo cofounder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishnan verified that Ravikant and Srinivasan had invested in the company last month. In February, Koo had raised $4.1 Mn in a Series A funding round led by 3one4 Capital, with participation from Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures, and Dream Incubator.

China-based venture capital fund Shunwei Capital, an early investor in Koo’s parent Bombinate Technologies, fully exited the company in this round. Existing investors and new angel investors such as former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan cofounder Sujeet Kumar, and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamath bought out Shunwei’s 9% stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Koo has achieved steady traction since February, when it claimed to have 3 Mn users. That was when the Indian government went on the offensive against Twitter, demanding the social media giant to take down tweets in support of the farmers’ protest. Several ministers in the government have supported Koo and also have accounts on the homegrown microblogging platform.

Even though Koo has over 5 Mn downloads on the Google Play Store today, it seems like a Desi version of Parler, the American microblogging platform with a notable user base comprising mostly of supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who are known to be conservatives and on the right-wing of the political thought spectrum.

Founded in March 2020 by Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, Koo was one of the winners of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge’ in August last year. The founders also operate Vokal, a regional language Q&A platform. Koo facilitates access to information and entertainment to Indian citizens in their own languages. Currently available in five languages including English, the app will shortly be made available in seven more Indian languages, namely: Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi, and Assamese.

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