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Koo's Swan Song: An End to the Desi Twitter Rival

By Ritwik Ghosh,Kolkata India

Koo: An End to the Desi Twitter Rival

In an unexpected turn of events, Koo, the vernacular microblogging beacon once touted as India’s answer to Twitter, has ceased its operations. The announcement came via a poignant LinkedIn post by the platform’s co-founder and CEO, Aprameya Radhakrishna.

The closure, while unfortunate, was not unforeseen. The company had been grappling with user traction and was unsuccessful in securing subsequent funding rounds. In September 2023, Entrackr exclusively revealed Koo’s attempts to negotiate a merger or acquisition due to its inability to attract new investments.

Radhakrishna detailed their exhaustive efforts to secure a deal with major internet firms, media houses, and conglomerates, all to no avail. “We endeavored to keep the app operational, but the financial burden of maintaining such a platform is considerable, leading us to this difficult resolution,” Radhakrishna penned.

Koo’s mission was to democratize self-expression and foster connectivity in native languages, addressing the fact that a significant majority of the global population does not communicate in English. “We aspired to carve out a space for India in the global digital arena, where most platforms are dominated by American entities,” he expressed.

In November 2022, Koo secured $6 million in funding from Tiger Global and Accel Partners, with contributions from Kalaari Capital, 3one4 Capital, and Dream Incubator (DI). Data from startup intelligence platform TheKredible indicates that Koo has amassed over $50 million in total funding. The most significant infusion was $30 million in May 2021. At that juncture, Radhakrishna held a 22% stake, while Accel and Tiger Global possessed 15.8% and 11.8%, respectively.

Koo captured the limelight in early 2021 amid Twitter’s clash with the Indian government, riding the wave of popularity that surged following TikTok’s ban in India. The platform’s similarities to Twitter were notable, including its logo featuring a yellow bird and the yellow verification tick for prominent users.

At its zenith, Koo boasted approximately 2.1 million daily active users and nearly 10 million monthly active users. “We were on the cusp of surpassing Twitter in India in 2022, a goal we could have achieved with additional capital,” Radhakrishna stated.

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