Google and Temasek-backed Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, which runs the social media platform ShareChat and short video platform Moj, has scaled down its live commerce vertical after entering the space two years back, two people aware of the development told VCCircle.
The development comes after the company closed its fantasy gaming platform Jeet11.
A company spokesperson confirmed the development stating “We are focused on our monetisation efforts going into 2023. As part of our plans for this calendar year, we’ve realigned resources on projects with a higher weight on immediate wins either in the form of increased revenue or reduced costs.”
“Live commerce is an important long-term strategic bet for us and we shall continue to invest in scaling it over time. However, in the immediate terms, we have calibrated the budget outlay on this area. That said, it’s far from being shut down. We continue to remain bullish on this space in India. E-commerce continues to be a very big market and we believe that social commerce can be a large play in India in the longer term," the spokesperson added.
News website Inc42 was the first to report the development.
The company launched the vertical at a time when the live commerce space saw burgeoning interest. Other players like Trell, Roposo, Josh, Taka Tak, and Chingari had also entered the segment. E-commerce player Meesho also piloted a live commerce division.
In 2021, Flipkart and ShareChat announced a partnership to enable live commerce where Moj users would be able to shop on Flipkart.
Amazon has also launched QVC-style live stream shopping in India to broaden its offerings by launching the new service named Amazon Live. Bringing over 150 creators and influencers to host live streams and plug products.
ShareChat has been going through a challenging time as management went into a reshuffle with two of its co-founders stepping aside from their active roles after laying off about 20% of its workforce. Farid Ahsan, the chief operating officer, and Bhanu Pratap, chief technology officer, however, stated they will continue to remain on the board of Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, the parent firm which runs ShareChat. The Google and Temasek-backed startup announced on 16 January that it has laid off up to 600 employees or about 20% of its headcount.
Recently, Mint reported a survey conducted by LocalCircles said that seven out of 10 Indians believe that live commerce for a product demo, terms of sale, returns, warranty, and pricing will be useful. The feedback indicates that many Indian consumers prefer the ability to interact during their shopping as commonly observed in retail stores and markets. The survey reflected that 35% were keen to even discuss pricing/discounts with a seller representative if a live commerce capability was introduced, while 4% said they are willing to do the spot purchase for products they need in a live commerce session.
The company also stated it will be hiring across roles and functions to support its growth.
ShareChat was founded in 2015 by Farid Ahsan, Ankush Sachdeva and Bhanu Pratap Singh. The firm launched Jeet11 in February 2020 to take on the popular fantasy gaming platform Dream11, allowing users to bet on cricket and football matches. In June, raised $78 million (about ₹633 crore) as part of its Series H funding round at a valuation of about $4.9 billion from Google’s parent Alphabet and Temasek Holdings.
The company came to focus on growing short video platform Moj platform after the ban on ByteDance-backed TikTok in India in June 2020. In February 2022, the company acquired TakaTak for about $700 million in a significant consolidation in India’s short-video market.
Across its three platforms, ShareChat, Moj, and TakaTak, the company claims to have a combined monthly active user base of about 400 million people. The company has raised over $1.5 billion in funding to date, according to the business information platform Crunchbase.
Mohalla Tech last reported a revenue of Rs 346.9 crore in the fiscal year that ended March 2022, with losses ballooning to Rs 2,988.6 crore.