India’s ShareChat in talks with Sequoia, others to raise up to $200m

Photo by Praveen Gupta on Unsplash

Indian content-sharing platform ShareChat is in early-stage talks with U.S.-based Sequoia Capital and some other investors to raise up to $200 million, which could value the company at over $1 billion, three sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

ShareChat has appointed JPMorgan to advise on the new fund raising which it expects to complete before the end of the year, said the sources, who declined to be named as the talks were private.

The discussions come as Indian apps such as ShareChat are seeing a popularity surge after New Delhi in June banned 59 Chinese origin apps including ByteDance’s TikTok following a border clash between the two countries.

ShareChat, in which Twitter last year invested an undisclosed amount, declined to comment. It has 140 million monthly active users in India.

JPMorgan declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for Sequoia in India did not respond to Reuters questions.

ShareChat allows users to post content in 15 Indian languages and after TikTok was banned, it launched a similar short-video sharing app named Moj which has clocked up more than 50 million downloads so far.

The money raised by ShareChat will be used to grow its video app further, bring more content creators to its platform and raise its marketing spend, said the first source.

“Investor interest in the company (ShareChat) is strong and 2020 may end up being their best year,” the source added.

ShareChat is in the process of completing a separate, smaller fund raise of $50-$70 million, mainly from existing investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners, the second source said.

Lightspeed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other home-grown TikTok alternatives such as Chingari and Mitron are also finding favour with users in India. Facebook’s Instagram also last month introduced a new video sharing feature called “Reels” on its platform in India.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.