India’s ShareChat could close series E round led by Google, Snap

India’s social networking platform ShareChat is close to concluding a Series E funding round led by Google and Snap, TechCrunch reported on Monday (Jan. 4).

The Twitter-backed startup is in the end stages of discussions with Google and Snap, along with several existing investors, sources told TechCrunch. The round is anticipated to exceed $200 million, with Google kicking in more than $100 million. The round values ShareChat at more than $1 billion, two of the sources said.

Co-founded in 2015 by Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Farid Ahsan, Bangalore-based ShareChat has raised roughly $264 million, with a valuation close to $700 million last year.

ShareChat, which engages users in 15 Indian languages, is popular in smaller cities in the country. Twitter and Snap have failed to attract Indian users outside of urban cities, but both have about 50 million monthly active users in India, TechCrunch reported, citing a mobile insight firm.

If the deal closes, it will mark the first investment in an Indian startup by Snapchat’s parent company. Google recently invested in Indian short video apps Dailyhunt and InMobi’s Glance.

Moj, ShareChat’s short-video app, has attracted over 80 million monthly active users as of September 2020, the company said, per TechCrunch. And New Delhi’s ban of ByteDance’s TikTok and hundreds of other Chinese apps has led to the acceleration of Times Internet’s MX TakaTak (operated by MX Player).

Sundar Pichai, CEO at both Alphabet and Google, said last year that the company was planning a $10 billion investment in India across five to seven years. Soon after the announcement, the search giant invested $4 billion in Jio Platforms, the country’s telecom giant. 

In November, Alphabet-owned Google was in preliminary talks to acquire ShareChat, which at the time was valued at roughly $650 million. 

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