India’s ShareChat raises $40 million from investors including Twitter, Lightspeed

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A man watches a movie on his phone as he waits for the bank to open to exchange his old high-denomination banknotes in the early hours, in the old quarters of Delhi, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian content-sharing platform ShareChat has raised $40 million from investors including Twitter Inc and Lightspeed Ventures as it seeks to boost usage of its new short-video app, the company said on Thursday.

The fund raising comes as Indian apps like ShareChat seek to tap more users after New Delhi banned dozens of Chinese origin apps including ByteDance’s TikTok following a border clash between the two countries in June.

Reuters last month also reported ShareChat is in talks with investors including U.S.-based Sequoia Capital to raise another $200 million, which could value the company at over $1 billion. JPMorgan is advising on that fund raising.

The latest funds will be used to drive growth for ShareChat’s short-video app Moj, the company said in a statement, a platform which is similar to TikTok.

ShareChat’s existing investors Twitter, Lightspeed Ventures and SAIF Partners were involved in the current fund raising, the statement said.

Two new Indian investors also participated, including Pawan Munjal, the chairman of India’s biggest motorbike manufacturer Hero MotoCorp.

“Large parts of the fund have been earmarked for doubling down on investments made towards (Moj’s) product development … and establishing partnerships with music labels,” ShareChat said.

ShareChat and Moj together have more than 240 million monthly active users. ShareChat allows users to post content in 15 Indian languages, while Moj allows sharing of short videos.

After India banned TikTok, ShareChat and other home-grown alternatives have been finding favour with users. Facebook’s Instagram has also introduced a new video sharing feature called “Reels” in the country.

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