Amid the increasing spotlight on home-grown social networks and micro-blogging platforms, local social network ShareChat is in the final stages of talks to raise as much as $300 million in new funding from Google and others that will value it at more than $1 billion, according to people aware of the matter.
Contrary to earlier reports, this won’t be an acquisition by Google. The latter will lead the investment, along with Snap Inc and other new investors. Twitter, which is in the middle of a row with the government, is an existing investor in ShareChat.
“A couple of other big names are joining the round apart from Google and Snap,” a person aware of the matter said.
An announcement in this regard could come later this month. The Bengaluru-based firm was last valued under $700 million. It has raised over $260 million in capital so far. It counts venture capital firms like India Quotient, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Elevation Capital among its investors. These investors too are likely to join the new funding round.
A spokesperson of ShareChat declined to comment, while emails sent to Google and Snap Inc did not elicit any response.
Started in 2015, ShareChat caters to non-metro users in 15 languages. The company says it has about 160 million monthly active users. For Google, if the investment goes through, it will be part of its $10 billion investment commitment to India. It has previously invested in Reliance’s Jio Platforms, VerSe Innovation and InMobi’s Glance.
Industry sources have said the interest from large strategic investors in ShareChat comes on the back of its user base beyond metros , where other social networking platforms haven’t been able to expand yet.
Since the TikTok ban, Sharechat has also expanded into the short-video space with Moj, where it competes with MX Takatak, which is owned by Times Internet, an arm of BCCL, which publishes this newspaper.