Koo, India’s Twitter alternative, seeks strategic partner amid funding crunch


Koo, India’s alternative to Twitter, is looking to find a partner with a “distribution strength” as it enters its “next phase,” its co-founder said, amid a funding crunch at the startup, which is backed by Accel and Tiger Global.

Koo co-founder Mayank Bidawatka wrote in a LinkedIn post that the startup — which has raised over $50 million to date, according to venture insight platform The Kredible — had planned to continue focusing on its scale, but the dwindling market conditions forced it to “switch gears from a growth trajectory to a revenue generating engine.”

“From growing rapidly to cutting down on growth and proving unit economics, within 6 months of revenue experimentation, we took a 180 degree turn and proved that this is a real business,” he wrote.

The social network is betting on the idea that its approach of supporting multiple local languages will help the eponymous app resonate broadly with the larger masses. The platform has attracted many Indian politicians and sports personalities in the past two years.

Koo — which has been attempting to put together a new funding round for at least three quarters, according to two people familiar with the matter — needs either funding or a strategic partnership for its “next phase,” he wrote. “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.”

Bidawatka’s post is a response to local media reports from earlier this month that said the startup was struggling with cash and was seeking merger and acquisition opportunities. The firm has approached several players including Microsoft, The Arc reported.

“With just 6 months more on our trajectory, we would have beaten Twitter in India,” he wrote, asserting that even Meta, the “Godfather of social platforms,” is taking time to build basic features in the Threads app.

Koo, which operates in markets including India and Brazil, had fewer than 1 million monthly active users on its app, according to mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower, whose data an industry executive shared with TechCrunch.

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