Founding of ShareChat
ShareChat (1), a tech startup that's become a sensation in the Indian social media landscape, was co-founded in 2015 by three IIT Kanpur alumni - Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva. The inception of ShareChat stemmed from an idea to create a debate platform for students preparing for the Indian Institute of Technology’s Joint Entrance Exam (IIT-JEE). However, it soon pivoted to a full-scale social media platform after observing a growing demand for local language content.
Ankush Sachdeva is the current CEO, leading the operations and overseeing the overall growth and strategic direction of the company.
The ShareChat Journey
What started as a humble venture has now become a prominent player in the Indian social media scene, connecting millions of people across India in 15 regional languages. ShareChat primarily aims to empower the next billion users who come online in vernacular regions, allowing users to share videos, jokes, songs, and other lifestyle content.
ShareChat's journey wasn't always smooth sailing. The founding team faced initial setbacks due to a lack of technical expertise in developing a scalable platform. However, their relentless pursuit of solving the problem of vernacular content led them to create one of India's most dynamic social networking platforms.
In 2016, the startup raised its first seed funding from India Quotient, an early-stage venture capital firm. The funding helped them scale their operations and improve the technical infrastructure.
Fundings and Valuation
ShareChat's financial journey has been a testament to the faith its investors have in its unique proposition and ability to connect with India's burgeoning internet user base. As per the latest data available on Crunchbase (2), ShareChat has raised an impressive $1.35 billion over ten funding rounds.
Following the successful Series E round in September 2020, ShareChat didn't rest on its laurels but continued its aggressive fundraising strategy in 2022. The Series F round was notable, securing a substantial investment of $502 million from investors, including the renowned Tiger Global Management.
The fundraising momentum continued well into 2022 with the company undertaking debt financing on February 10, 2022. This strategic move further bolstered ShareChat's financial flexibility and growth prospects.
The company's impressive growth and robust financial performance led to another Series G round on March 21, 2022, which succeeded in attracting more investors. This helped ShareChat in strengthening its operations, improving its technical capabilities, and expanding its market presence.
On the back of these successful funding rounds, ShareChat went a step further to conduct a Series H round on May 31, 2022. The inflow of capital from this round has provided ShareChat with additional firepower to invest in user acquisition, new feature development, and infrastructure enhancement.
As of the latest data available, ShareChat has reached a remarkable valuation of $1.7 billion. This figure makes it part of the coveted unicorn club, referring to privately held startups valued at over $1 billion. This milestone valuation emphasizes the critical role of ShareChat in driving India's digital revolution and highlights the immense growth potential that it has for the future.
Product Expansion: Moj
In response to the Indian Government's ban on TikTok and several other Chinese apps in June 2020, ShareChat seized the opportunity to fill the void left by TikTok in the short video content space. It launched Moj (3), a short video platform, which quickly gained popularity and amassed a large user base.
Impact of COVID-19 and Future Plans
The COVID-19 pandemic played a substantial role in ShareChat's user growth, with millions of Indians seeking digital entertainment and connections during the lockdown. ShareChat has reported more than 160 million active users per month, while Moj boasts over 120 million users, highlighting their growing dominance in the Indian digital space.
Looking ahead, ShareChat aims to invest in artificial intelligence capabilities and enhance the user experience, aiming to cater to India's diverse and growing digital population. With a focus on local language content and a commitment to leveraging the power of AI, ShareChat is well-positioned to continue its success story in the Indian social media space.
ShareChat's journey is a shining example of an Indian tech startup effectively catering to the unique demands of India's multilingual internet users. The platform's focus on vernacular content, coupled with its ability to seize market opportunities, has helped it carve a niche for itself in a highly competitive market. As it continues to evolve, ShareChat promises to remain an exciting player to watch in India's social media and digital content industry.