Koo, touted as India’s Twitter alternative, seeks partnership amid fund crunch

The homegrown micro-blogging platform, Koo, is actively seeking a partnership with a party possessing robust distribution capabilities, aiming to propel it into a new phase of growth. Co-founder Mayank Bidawatka said the company are currently in discussions with potential partners as they navigate the challenges of an “unfavourable market”.

Koo was launched in March 2020.
Koo was launched in March 2020.

‘Growth took a back seat for revenue generation’

Taking to LinkedIn, Bidawatka wrote on Friday that 2023 has posed formidable challenges for startups globally. He added that funding has dwindled, with only early-stage startups nearing breakeven or securing funds, often at reduced valuations and significant markdowns.

Discussing Koo’s own situation, Bidawatka explained that the company found itself grappling with the unfortunate timing of a sluggish market. They were compelled to shift their focus from rapid expansion to revenue generation.

He went on to reflect that, had they had six more months on their original trajectory, Koo “would have beaten Twitter in India”. He added, “But, we had to become more efficient by curbing expenses and start generating revenue. It takes years to build a globally competitive microblog. Even Threads, from the Godfather of social platforms, is taking time to build basic features.”

Elon Musk’s X, Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads proving tough competition?

In August, Aprameya Radhakrishna, co-founder of Koo, articulated the platform’s strategy, emphasising a deliberate avoidance of direct competition with Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) or Mark Zuckerberg’s recently introduced Threads by Meta. Instead, Koo aims to cater to regional audiences through its language-centric approach, news agency PTIb reported citing Radhakrishna.

Bidawatka reiterated the significance of a microblog tailored for native language speakers in his blog post, asserting that it represents the most inclusive approach to expanding microblogging to a broader global audience.

What next for Koo?

Looking ahead, Koo’s strategy revolves around achieving scale, Bidawatka said, adding that this could only be realised through either securing funding or forging a strategic partnership with an entity already possessing substantial scale. Bidawatka emphasised that, given the current sluggish investor market, the most viable path forward is aligning with a partner.

“With the current reality of a slow investor market, the best way forward is to partner with someone who has the distribution strength to give Koo a massive user impetus and help it grow,” he wrote in the post.

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