Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, which operates social networking and content platform ShareChat, has raised $40 million (Rs 295.70 crore at current exchange rates) in a pre-Series E funding round from a clutch of investors.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd chairman Pawan Munjal and DCM Shriram chairman Ajay Shridhar Shriram, who invested through the family office of the company’s promoters, came in as new investors, ShareChat said in a statement.
Other investors that participated include SAIF Partners, micro-blogging platform Twitter Inc., Lightspeed Venture Partners and India Quotient. This infusion takes the total capital raised by ShareChat to $264 million.
Bengaluru-based ShareChat said it will use the capital mainly to drive growth of Moj, its short video platform. The company has already made at least one acquisition to augment Moj’s capabilities—it acquired Bengaluru-based video production company HPF Films Pvt. Ltd earlier this month.
The move comes amid growing competition in the short-video segment after the government banned China’s TikTok; startups such as Mitron, Chingari, Roposo and Trell are all vying for a slice of this pie.
ShareChat will also use some of the fresh capital to invest in product development, grow its creator ecosystem and team up with music labels.
“The economic and demographic ecosystem of the internet universe is primed for companies like ShareChat and their products,” Munjal said.
Dev Khare, partner at Lightspeed India, said ShareChat’s “India-first brand” and capabilities in local languages, product innovation, artificial intelligence, growth and retention are “deep moats”.
ShareChat 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 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.
In April this year, it acquired meme-sharing platform Memer and integrated the startup’s suite into its own offerings. Then, it acquired Circle Internet in August. Circle Internet is a hyperlocal platform that provides information to Indian language internet users in smaller cities.