Former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow Founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan Co-Founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and Zerodha Founder Nikhil Kamat participated in the round to provide an exit to Shunwei Capital.
In February this year, the app was flagged for leaking user data.
Chinese investor Shunwei Capital, which had invested $5 million along with other investors in microblogging service Koo’s parent Bombinate Technologies in 2018, has now exited the company. The investment in the company’s Vokal platform, which was akin to the Q&A platform Quora, that provided Shunwei with a little over 9 per cent stake has now been bought out by the parent’s existing investors along with a ‘bunch of individuals,’ according to the company. Former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow Founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan Co-Founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and Zerodha Founder Nikhil Kamath participated in the round to acquire Shunwei’s stake.
“As earlier stated, we had been in discussion with Shunwei Capital to enable a smooth exit after it invested in our company 2.5 years ago while we were raising funds for Vokal and have now fully exited the parent company Bombinate Technologies,” Aprameya Radhakrishna, CEO and Co-founder, Koo said in a company statement.
Koo hogged the limelight recently amid the Modi government’s spat with Twitter over the latter’s alleged non-compliance of law with respect to the alleged spread of misinformation on farmer’s protest by multiple accounts on the microblogging site. Koo was able to garner right-wing support in the light of the protest as well as the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme. Vokal counted Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital, 500 Startups, Accel Partners among its investors. In the past few weeks, A-listers and who’s who of the entertainment, politics, and corporate worlds including Anupam Kher, Kangana Ranaut, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, and more along with several ministries and government organisations had joined Koo.
Financial Express Online had explained in February about’s Koo potential path to become a potent player in the microblogging market and take on Twitter in the distant future.
“Putting celebs in any brand helps but it is based on user experience, the service’s overall functionality, data security, and accessibility. Endorsements may work for a shorter duration but if the app is not stable and sustainable in the long run, it won’t work irrespective of the audience you cater to. Google had also tried Google+ but it didn’t find adoption even as there were multiple top profiles on the app,” Anoop Mishra, one of India’s leading social media experts had earlier told Financial Express Online.
In February this year, the app was flagged for leaking user data. French ethical hacker Robert Baptiste, who goes by Elliot Alderson on Twitter and had last year flagged a security issue in the Aarogya Setu app, has now accused the app of leaking user details such as email, date of birth, marital status, etc. However, Radhakrishna in his rebuttal to the development tweeted on Thursday that “the data visible is something that the user has voluntarily shown on their profile of Koo. It cannot be termed a data leak. If you visit a user profile you can see it anyway.”
India’s social network users are expected to grow from 326 million to 447 million in 2023, according to the data from Statista. The country is already the second-largest social media market worldwide after China that will have more than 1.1 billion internet users accessing social networks in 2025, up from 926.8 million social network users in 2020. Currently, India is the third biggest market for Twitter with 17.5 million users as of January 2021. In comparison, Facebook had an eye-popping 320 million users in India – its largest market as of January 2021 while its daily active users as of Q3 2020 stood at 1.75 billion globally.