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ShareChat snaps up SAIF-backed hyperlocal startup Circle Internet
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

Homegrown social networking platform ShareChat has acquired Circle Internet Tech Pvt. Ltd, a hyperlocal platform that provides information to Indian language internet users across Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

This is the second reported acquisition that ShareChat has made within five months. In April, it acquired meme-sharing platform Memer and integrated the startup’s suite into its own offerings.

As part of the latest acquisition, Circle Internet’s 15-member team will join ShareChat and help build out its language-first community-driven hyperlocal content ecosystem, the social network said in a statement.

The two companies didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction. Investors in Circle Internet include SAIF Partners and Venture Highway, both of whom are existing backers of ShareChat as well.

“The acquisition will help us penetrate deeper into geographies and nurture a thriving hyperlocal content ecosystem that will understand and serve the latent content needs of the next billion internet users more effectively,” said Manohar Charan, ShareChat’s vice president for corporate development and strategic finance.

Circle Internet was founded by Uchit Kumar, Gaurav Agrawal and Shashank Shekhar, the last of whom had worked at ShareChat prior to launching the hyperlocal platform. In February last year, VCCircle reported that SAIF Partners had made a seed-stage investment in the company.

ShareChat, operated by Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, was founded in 2015 by Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Pratap Singh and Ankush Sachdeva. It allows users to create, discover and share content such as videos, jokes, songs and images.

In August last year, the startup raised $100 million (around Rs 715 crore then) in its Series D funding round. Social media giant Twitter and TrustBridge Partners came on as new investors at the time. Existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital also participated.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that ShareChat was in talks to raise funding from Microsoft Corp. This development came less than a week after it was reported that ShareChat was in early-stage talks with Sequoia Capital and other investors to raise up to $200 million, likely valuing the firm at over $1 billion.

Prior to its Series D funding round, ShareChat raised $100 million in September 2018 from investors led by Shunwei.

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