Small Business

Google in talks with ShareChat as latter scouts for $150-200 million

BENGALURU|MUMBAI: Google is in talks with ShareChat for investing in the Bengaluru-based social media firm, two people familiar with the matter told ET.

ShareChat is looking to raise $ 150-200 million and is holding discussions with investors and technology companies, as it prepares to battle it out with over a dozen rivals to fill the gap left by banned Chinese apps, including TikTok and Helo. JPMorgan is advising the company in raising funds.

ShareChat owns a regional language social media platform that competed with ByteDance‘s recently banned Helo and a new short-video app Moj, which was released soon after TikTok’s exit from the market.

“A process is on to raise funds. We have reached out to funds as well as strategic investors like Google. The talks are still at a preliminary stage and will take some time to conclude,” said one of the people. “As Chinese tech applications are banned, we expect larger investor traction for ShareChat, which directly competes with ByteDance’s Helo.”

Google is not the only firm that has held discussions with ShareChat, which counts microblogging platform Twitter as one of its investors. Business newspaper Mint reported Microsoft had also held discussions with Sharechat. It is also in discussions with existing investors, including SAIF Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners, ET reported in July.

ShareChat said it cannot comment on any “market speculation”. Google did not respond to ET’s emailed queries till press time Sunday, while JP Morgan declined to comment. In an interview with ET last week, ShareChat chief executive Ankush Sachdeva said the company is seeing a lot of inbound interest and it is talking to everyone, including all the global players.

“Given how things have changed, especially after the ban, ShareChat benefits a lot in terms of time spent, in terms of revenue, in terms of daily active users. We are suddenly a lot more valuable than our previously thought valuation. We have got a lot of inbound interest and we are talking to everyone, including all the global players,” Sachdeva told ET.

In July, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a $ 10 billion India Digitisation Fund, most of which will be invested in Indian companies over the next five to seven years.

Since the ban on TikTok, more than a dozen short-video apps, including Roposo, Dailyhunt’s Josh, and MX Player’s TakaTak, are vying for the top spot. MX Player is owned by Times Internet, the digital arm of the Times Group that includes The Economic Times.

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