Indian social networking platform ShareChat was set up four years ago, with the philosophy that “the future of the internet is regional.”
Indeed, even on social networking sites like Twitter, where users can access content from all around the globe, many people tend to predominantly follow accounts run by people who live in their countries and cities.
ShareChat’s aim is “to provide a comfortable digital space not only for people who want to use the internet in their mother tongue, but also for first-time internet users, to share their thoughts, emotions, opinions and become friends with others without any language barrier.”
When you visit ShareChat’s website, the first thing you are met with is a menu that allows you to select which language you want to use on the platform, offering a selection of regional languages commonly used in India, including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati and a handful of other languages.
The company says that it’s at the forefront of the vernacular social media revolution, and aims to “redefine the way billions of people are consuming content on social media”.
ShareChat has an average of 60m monthly users, which use the fifteen languages on the platform. It does not support English, and the CEO says there are no plans to change that.
In an earlier iteration of the site, English was an option. Interestingly, most users opted for English as their preferred language. A consequence of this, was that engagement with the app was far lower.
On Friday (16 August), the start-up announced that it had raised $100m in its Series D round, which was led by social networking giant Twitter.
There was also participation from TrustBridge Partners, and existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quoetient and Morningside Venture Capital.
To date, ShareChat has raised$224m.
The company will use the funding to strengthen the platform’s technology infrastructure and scale the business. It will also seek new talent and introduce more features to make the ShareChat experience more seamless across devices.
ShareChat CEO, Ankush Sachdeva, said: “This is a very exciting time for us at ShareChat as we see our platform growing rapidly.
With this new round of funding, we are positioned to take the next leap in our growth story. As we scale up, our focus remains to help the ShareChat community better express themselves in the comfort of their native language.”
Ravi Mhatre, founder and managing director of Lightspeed Venture Partner said: “Lightspeed is excited to continue to support ShareChat in every financing round – Series A through the current Series D, and beyond.
We feel the company has a special opportunity to consolidate its position as the defining media platform to engage India’s diverse, multicultural and multilingual population.”
Managing director of Twitter India, Manish Maheshwari, said that Twitter and ShareChat are aligned on the broader purpose of serving the public conversation and helping the world to learn faster.
According to TechCrunch, the company’s latest valuation now stands at $650m. ShareChat declined to comment on this figure.
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Source:: Silicon Republic