SAIF Partners, the leading venture capital firm with over $4B under management has invested $1.35 million in ShareChat, the vernacular social network. The capital infusion is a part of ShareChat’s seed round of funding which also involved participation from existing investors, India Quotient. The company will leverage the funds raised towards ramping up its tech infrastructure to cater to its constantly growing user base and to reach out to more people across India with a variety of content formats.
Besides the validation that ShareChat has received from top institutional investors, it was also applauded for its approach when it was selected as one of the 6 startups invited for the second batch of Google Launchpad Accelerator program from India, which is a six-month mentorship program.
ShareChat has built a first-of-its-kind social networking platform for India’s vernacular language users, available in 4 Indian languages, namely Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam and Telugu which will be followed by many more. It has already crossed 1 million downloads, and at half a million monthly active users, it has been consistently growing at 10% week on week. ShareChat was started by three IIT Kanpur alumni, Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh and Ankush Sachdeva in 2015.
Farid Ahsan, CEO, ShareChat, said, “It’s highly motivating for us to get backed by SAIF Partners. ShareChat has started growing virally now and every new user strengthens the platform even further. It’s encouraging for us to see how our users have been responding and creating a really diverse variety in vernacular content on ShareChat. With the latest fund raise we plan to strengthen our technology to serve the increasing traffic on ShareChat and expand into more languages and content types.”
Mayank Khanduja, Principal, SAIF Partners, said, “We’re very confident about team ShareChat’s understanding of what we see as a massive market opportunity. Moreover, we feel it’s the best team for the job as the co-founders have strong technical backgrounds and a highly data driven approach. The platform is powerful enough to solve the content and the social networking needs of the growing Indian smartphone users.”
Indian Internet users living in non-metro cities find it very difficult to discover content and information, especially first-time internet users, owing to poor network connections on smartphones and the native language barrier thanks to the English-first flavour of apps. These are the gaps that ShareChat seeks to plug and with this round of funding it aims to make social networking in the vernacular accessible for a larger number of users across India.
ShareChat currently allows users to follow each other, create and find content in their preferred language, and share to chat platforms like Whatsapp. ShareChat started as a content sharing tool for Whatsapp and witnessed traction of 1 million shares a week.It has now made rapid strides towards building its full-fledged social platform. Already 5 million connections have been made on ShareChat and the rapid success of user generated content is a very exciting sign that ShareChat users were desperately looking for a platform like this.