By Munsif Vengattil
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The parent company of India’s ShareChat has raised nearly $300 million in fresh funding from Alphabet Inc’s Google, media giant Times Group and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, valuing the social media firm at nearly $5 billion, two sources involved in the deal discussions told Reuters.
A deal is set to be announced as early as next week, the sources added.
ShareChat’s parent company, Mohalla Tech, did not respond to a request for comment. Google and Temasek did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Reuters could not immediately reach the Times Group.
This is Google’s second key investment in India’s short video space, having previously backed Josh, which competes with ShareChat’s sister firm Moj.
Google’s investment in a bearish market for Indian start-ups shows the appetite for the short video sector and the start-up’s investment thesis, one of the sources said. India’s tech startups, which raised a record $35 billion in new funds in 2021, have been struggling to raise funds as corporate governance concerns loom large for investors facing a new uncertainty in global markets.
Short video apps like Moj and Josh shot up in popularity after India in 2020 banned ByteDance’s TikTok and some other Chinese apps following a border clash with China.
ShareChat currently has 180 million monthly active users. Moj, along with Mohalla’s recently acquired MX TakaTak, has a combined user base of 300 million, according to one of the sources.
ShareChat was last valued at $3.7 billion in a $266 million funding round from investors including Alkeon Capital and Temasek. The firm also counts Twitter and Snap among its investors.
If the bid by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to buy Twitter goes through, Musk will have potentially a stake of between 6% and 8% in ShareChat, the source added.
(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Susan Fenton)