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Indian social network Koo is shutting down as buyout talks collapse | Madconsole


The Indian social media platform Koo, which positioned itself as a competitor to Elon Musk’s X, is ceasing operations after its last-resort acquisition talks with Dailyhunt collapsed.

Despite securing over $60 million in funding from prominent investors including Tiger Global and Accel, Koo faced significant challenges in expanding its user base and generating revenue over the past two years.

Madconsole exclusively reported in February that Koo was engaging with Dailyhunt, an internet media startup valued at $5 billion, for a potential sale. The talks didn’t materialize into a deal, Koo founders said Wednesday.

“We explored partnerships with multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates and media houses but these talks didn’t yield the outcome we wanted,” Koo founders Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka wrote in a LinkedIn post Wednesday. “Most of them didn’t want to deal with user generated content and the wild nature of a social media company.”

Koo sought to win users in India by giving them an X-like platform where they could express themselves in multiple local languages. Koo initially gained popularity in India during a period of tension between Twitter and the Indian government. The conflict emerged after Twitter challenged the government’s opaque requests for content removal.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey alleged last year that the Indian government had threatened to shut down the social network in the country and raid the homes of its employees. (The Indian government refuted Dorsey’s allegations and a top minister at the time said Dorsey was attempting to “brush out that very dubious period of Twitter’s history.”)

Koo took advantage of the situation and positioned itself as a more compliant alternative, pledging to adhere to local regulations. This approach attracted numerous high-profile Indian politicians to the platform, though nearly none from the opposition party. The startup also had also expanded its eponymous app to Brazil.

But a prolonged funding winter, which forced startups globally to scale their revenue and improve their finances, “got the better of us,” Koo founders said.

For years, Indian entrepreneurs and investors have raced to create homegrown alternatives to popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube. It’s becoming increasingly evident that these established American companies are demonstrating superior capability in serving even the most diverse segments of the Indian market.



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