ShareChat, a Bangalore-based social platform, has announced that it has raised $4 million in its Series A round of funding. The round was led by Lightspeed India Partners. Existing investors SAIF Partners, India Quotient have also participated.
Along with these investors, Venture Highway has also contributed in this funding round through VH Capital. Earlier this year, the company had raised $1.35 million in a seed round of funding from SAIF Partners and India Quotient.
Prior to this, ShareChat had also raised around $100,000 from India Quotient in the year 2015. Going forward, it is planning to around raise $8 million to $10 million by the end of this year.
Commenting about the funding, Dev Khare, MD at Lightspeed India Partners, says,
ShareChat is poised to be a big problem solver for the largely-ignored mass market of India. The audience definitely needs a product which is relevant to their mindspace and we believe ShareChat balances this need of a content+social discovery platform in the best fashion.
With the amount raised in the Series A round, the company plans to spend a majority of the money for the vernacular ecosystem. It will also spend a chunk of it on marketing and for growing its user base. Farid Ahsan, one of the co-founders of ShareChat, said that a lot of work is required on their part to make Sharechat a household brand, dig deep into the user base, and to add even more interesting infotainment and utilities.
ShareChat was founded in 2015 by IIT-Kanpur alumni Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva. Initially, the company was started as a content sharing tool for WhatsApp. However, it has now evolved into a social networking platform, with users sharing about 1 lakh content pieces per day.
The platform enables users to create, discover, and share content with each other, similar to Tumblr and Instagram. Users can also follow other users for regular updates. The company’s aim is to become the most essential non-chat social app for a first-time Internet user, whether it is through local language content or through infotainment services which are relevant to them.
Currently, the platform is available in six languages — Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Telugu. It will shortly roll out update after which Tamil and Bengali languages, which are in private beta, will be available for all users. As per the company’s claims, the app has been downloaded around 3.5 million times, with roughly 2 million active users on the platform.
In this space, ShareChat will be competing against the likes of Matrubharti, an app for authors which also lets users download e-books in local Indian languages. Other similar services available in the market include PlanetGoGo, an app for content discovery in local languages and ShabdaNagari, a social networking site in Hindi.