Google Invests In India’s Mohalla Amidst Short Video boom

Mohalla Tech chief executive and co-founder Ankush Sachdeva. Image credit: Mohalla Tech

Google contributes to $300m funding round that values Mohalla Tech at nearly $5bn as social media company expects profitability in 16-18 months

Google is reportedly amongst the investors in a new $300 million (£238m) funding round into Indian social media company Mohalla Tech, along with Indian media conglomerate Times Group and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

The deal, which values Mohalla at nearly $5bn, could be announced as early as next week, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

Mohalla Tech operates social media network ShareChat as well as the short video service Moj, which merged with rival MX TakaTak under a deal announced in February.

The company was valued at $3.7bn in a December 2021 $266m funding round from investors including Alkeon Capital and Temasek. Twitter and Snap are also significant investors.

twitter, meta, facebook, youtube, social media, mohalla, sharechat, moj, indiaShort video boom

If Elon Musk’s bid to acquire Twitter goes through Musk could have a stake of 6 to 8 percent in ShareChat, Reuters’ source estimated.

The investment is Google’s second in India’s expanding short-video market, after previously backing Moj rival Josh.

Domestic short-video apps such as Moj and Josh gained popularity in 2020 when the Indian government banned China’s TikTok amidst border tensions between the two countries.

Mohalla says Sharechat has 180 million monthy active users, with 160 million on Moj and a combined 200 to 300 million following the merger with TakaTak.

The company says 60 percent of its revenues come from advertising and the remaining 40 percent from social e-commerce such as virtual gifts to content creators.

Social e-commerce

Mohalla chief executive Ankush Sachdeva said earlier this month that the company was working on expanding commercialisation of livestreams and expected to see a significant income from this side of the business by the end of 2022 year.

Sachdeva said the company expects to be profitable within the next 16 to 18 months.

The new investment marks a bright spot for Indian tech firms and shows continued investor interest in short video apps in the country.

India’s tech firms raised a record $35bn in new funds in 2021, but have been struggling this year amidst tougher economic conditions and broader market turmoil.