3one4 Capital, others invest Series A money in Koo; Shunwei exits
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Koo, a microblogging application, has raised $4.1 million (around Rs 30 crore) in a Series A funding round.

Early-stage venture firm 3one4 Capital is the newest addition to Koo’s capitalisation table in this fundraise, the startup said in a statement. Other participants include Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures, and Dream Incubator.

Koo, operated by Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd, was set up in March last year by Mayank Bidawatka and Aprameya Radhakrishna. It focuses on providing regional language capabilities for Indian internet and mobile users looking to express their opinions online.

Bombinate, which also operates vernacular questions and answers platform Vokal, has seen the exit of China-based venture firm Shunwei Capital. 

In a tweet on Wednesday, Radhakrishna said, “The latest funds for Bombinate are led by a truly Indian investor, 3one4 Capital. Shunwei (single digit shareholder), which had invested in our Vokal journey, will be exiting fully,” he tweeted.

In July 2018, Shunwei Capital had led a $5 million (around Rs 34 crore) Series A round in Vokal. Other participants at the time included 500 Startups, Accel, and Blume Ventures.

The tweet comes as Koo surges in popularity, thanks to politicians and others flocking to it after global rival Twitter refused to follow a government order to block certain content on its platform.

The company says it was also one of the winners of AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge.

Koo will use the capital it has raised to enhance technological infrastructure and increase marketing efforts to raise awareness about the app.

“Koo is a very valuable and powerful platform in the Indian context. Social platforms focused on India need to be highly contextualised to the audience here beyond languages and must include community, moderation and content relevance,” 3one4 Capital principal Anurag Ramdasan said.

The startup’s fundraise is the latest example of a locally-developed platform seeking to capitalise on the government’s call for a self-reliant India with respect to its technology and networks. Several investors have committed capital to such startups and applications.

The toughest competition in this regard is among short video applications, which are seeking to fill the gap left behind by ByteDance’s TikTok, which was banned following clashes between Indian and Chinese forces last year.

Some of the platforms in this space that have raised capital include Mitron, which counts 3one4 Capital as an investor; Josh, which is operated by Dailyhunt paren Ver Se Innovation; Moj, which is run by ShareChat; and Roposo, which is run by InMobi subsidiary Glance.

The copy has been updated to reflect Shunwei Capital's exit from the parent of Koo. 

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