Koo: The Rise and Shutdown of India's Homegrown Microblogging Platform

Koo: The Rise and Shutdown of India's Homegrown Microblogging Platform
Koo: The Rise and Shutdown of India's Homegrown Microblogging Platform

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The recent ban in India of 59 Chinese apps has paved the way for many Indian startups and entrepreneurs to create "Made in India" products. The majority of these startups are developing products that can be accessed in local languages, with a focus on Tier-II, and III cities, and other rural pockets of India.

Koo, which debuted in early 2020, and won the government's Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge, caught the public's attention. Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, two entrepreneurs, co-founded this microblogging platform. Its user base recently increased as a result of a spat between the government and Twitter. Often referred to as the "Indian Twitter", Koo currently serves a user base of 15 million users, including a clutch of key Indian personalities.

StartupTalky brings all about Koo startup, its Startup Story, Koo app Founders, and Team, Koo app revenue, Name, Tagline and Logo, Funding and Investors, Business Model and Revenue Model, Challenges, Competitors, Awards and Achievements, and Koo's Shutdown in the article ahead!

Koo - Company Highlights

Company Name Koo
Parent Company Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Headquarters Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Industry Microblogging, Social networking service, and News
Founded March 1, 2020
Founder Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka
Valuation $274 million
Areas Served Worldwide
Website www.kooapp.com

About Koo and How it Works?
Koo - Vision and Mission
Koo - Name, Logo and Tagline
Koo - Founders and Team
Koo - Startup Story | History of Koo
Koo - Atmanirbhar App Innovation
Koo - Growth and Revenue
Koo - Funding and Investors
Koo - Business and Revenue Model
Koo - Features
Koo - Partnership and Tie-up
Koo - Competitors
Koo - Challenges Faced
Koo - Awards and Achievements
Koo - Shutdown

About Koo and How it Works?

Koo is an Indian microblogging and social networking service based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Koo is an Indian-language microblogging site for connecting, commenting, and engaging. The company's platform is available in multiple Indian languages and includes features such as English to regional language keyboards, local language news feeds, and hyper-local hashtags, allowing users to express themselves on a variety of topics using text, audio, and video.

Koo has stated on its website, “Just 10% of India speaks English. Almost 1 billion people in India don't know English. Instead, they speak one of India's 100s of languages. They are now getting access to smartphones and would love an internet in their language.”
“ Koo is an attempt to make the voice of these Indians heard. They can now participate on the internet in their mother tongue by listening to the views of some of the sharpest Indian minds and also speak their mind by sharing their thoughts."

The Koo social media is available for free on both the Google Play and Apple App Stores. If you don't have access to any of these sites, go to Kooapp.com, log in with your credentials, and use the app directly from your browser.

Koo - Vision and Mission

Koo's vision statement says, "Koo has built a platform to enable a billion Indians to voice their thoughts and opinions freely in their mother tongue."

The mission of Koo, as mentioned by Co-founder Bidawatka, is to connect India and help a billion Indians to voice themselves freely in their own mother tongue. Koo is constantly trying to simplify expressions for everybody who wants to connect with their audiences. Bidawatka claims that the Koo social media network is the world's first platform in the world that claims to do that.

Koo - Name, Logo and Tagline

A yellow bird, or "Sone Ki Chidiya" in Hindi, appears in Koo's logo, which is also what India was known for, many years ago. Koo unveiled its latest logo on May 14, 2021. The new logo is based on the yellow bird, but it has a more modern appearance. Ku Koo Ku was the app's previous name.

"It’s fresh new look and an indication of of our little yellow bird growing up from being a toddler to an adolescent. This little bird is ready to an adolescent… This little bird is ready to fly. We are grateful to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for inaugurating Koo’s new logo on the auspicious day of his 65th birthday,” Radhakrishnan said.

Aprameya Radhakrishna, a co-founder of Koo, said the new logo represents the company's growth since its inception.

Koo's Company Logo
Koo's Company Logo
“Our new bird is a sign of that positivity that the platform brings to their lives. Millions of users use Koo to connect and find comfort in each other’s company. The little yellow bird is now ready to be the messenger to a billion Indians,” said Mayank.

According to Radhakrishna, when they first considered giving everyone in India a voice, regardless of language, the first image that came to mind was of a bird, an emotional creature that embodies the concept of transmitting a message. They wanted it to be a happy bird, so they gave it a yellow color, and they wanted it to spread positive messages across India. The bird makes a sweet sound that is referred to as Koo.

Koo tagline states "Let's Koo together!"

Koo - Founders and Team

Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka co-founded the microblogging platform Koo. The duo are also the founders of Vokal, an audio-video knowledge-sharing platform similar to Quora.

Aprameya Radhakrishna

Aprameya Radhakrishna was the founder and Director of TaxiForSure, an online taxi-booking service that was later acquired by Ola Cabs. Before that, he had experience working as a Software Engineer at Infosys and as Head of Business Development, at PDS India at Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj. He then founded Koo, where he still works as a CEO along with working as an Angel Investor. Radhakrishna has a BE, Electronics, and Communication from NIT Karnataka and then opted for an MBA in General Management from IIM Ahmedabad.

Founders of Koo - Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka
Founders of Koo - Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka

Mayank Bidawatka

Mayank Bidawatka is another co-founder of Koo. Bidawatka has an MBA from the Asian School of Management. After a brief role of a year in Client Servicing at Lowe Lintas, Bidawatka joined ICICI Bank, where he served as the Product Manager. Mayank was in the Core Team/Foundation Team of Redbus after which he co-founded The Media Ant. He left that role and joined TaxiforSure.com. He then co-founded Goodbox. Mayank left Goodbox to serve as an investor and has eventually invested in a series of companies. Mayank finally decided to co-found Vokal India with Aprameya.

The Koo team is currently operating with nearly 270 employees, the team of which was 200 strong when reported last in September 2021. The India-based social media startup aims to raise its employee strength to 500 by the end of the next year.

Koo - Startup Story | History of Koo

The reality about India is that it is the only country with such a wide range of languages. After looking at what's going on on Twitter, the Koo founders discovered that there's very little content in our native Indian languages. The founders of Koo also looked at what was going on in Indian languages on the established global microblogs. All of these led to the formation of the Indian microblogging venture, 'Koo'.

Koo - Atmanirbhar App Innovation

Although the app was first released in early 2020, it rose to prominence after winning the government's Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge. The app, along with other Indian apps such as Zoho and Chingari, the local version of TikTok, won the challenge, which was launched by the Centre shortly after it banned a slew of Chinese apps citing national security concerns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi listed the app in his Mann Ki Baat address after the results of the Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge.

Politicians, ministers, and celebrities who have signed up for the app include Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Law, and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Members of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and Shobha Karandlaje, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Isha Foundation's Jaggi Vasudev, and former cricketers Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble. In addition, the Union Information Technology Ministry, India Post, and the Niti Aayog are among the government agencies that have signed up for the app.

Many ministers and politicians are supporting the made-in-India microblogging site, particularly at a time when the world's largest platform in this segment has not responded favorably to the Indian government's demands, demonstrating the government's willingness to push an alternative to the social networking platform.

PM Launches ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge’
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about the new ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge’. The challenge which was launched through the PM’s tweet challenges Indian Startups and companies to develop ‘Made in India’ applications that will facilitate not only the people of India…

Koo - Growth and Revenue

When Koo had only been around for a year, after being launched in May 2020, it boasted a user count of 30+ million. The average monthly active users of Koo was ranging 9 million, as of June 6, 2022. Koo is the second most widely used microblog in the world, as reported by various news resources in 2022, and offers 20 global languages on the platform.

Koo announced that it has crossed 1 crore downloads on August 25, 2021. The company boasts of reaching the 1 crore mark within just 16 months of its launch. The Koo app downloads now stand at over Rs 3 cr (30 mn).

Here are some more growth highlights of the brand:

  • Koo boasts of having more than 1,000 celebrities on its platform.
  • It has announced having 1,00,000+ creators in total.
  • After its launch in March 2020, Koo has already crossed the 10 million downloads mark in August 2021.
  • Koo currently boasted of having more than 3 crores or 30 million users, when last reported in December 2021.

The Koo founder and CEO, Aprameya Radhakrishna is presently focusing on growth and is striving to capture the market, and believes that monetization will eventually follow.


Koo's cash from operations significantly decreased from Rs -32.4 crore in FY21 to Rs -244 crore in FY22, marking a dramatic financial change. This was accompanied by a higher loss that increased from Rs -35.2 crore in FY21 to Rs -197 crore in FY22.

Koo Financials FY20 - FY22
Koo Financials FY20 - FY22

Expense Breakdown

In FY22, Koo's expenses soared in key areas: advertising hit Rs 124 crore, employee benefits reached Rs 36.2 crore, and technology costs hit Rs 23.5 crore. Legal and professional fees rose to Rs 11.4 crore, communication expenses to Rs 2.27 crore, and other expenses to Rs 4.63 crore. These figures reflect significant spending and growth.

Expenses FY21 - FY22 FY21 FY22
Advertising and promotional expenses Rs 6.61 crore Rs 124 crore
Employee Benefit Expenses Rs 9.3 crore Rs 36.2 crore
Technology Costs Rs 4.1 crore Rs 23.5 crore
Legal and professional Fees Rs 2.33 crore Rs 11.4 crore
Communication Expenses Rs 0.72 crore Rs 2.27 crore
Other Expenses Rs 1.74 crore Rs 4.63 crore


Koo FY21 - FY2 FY21 FY22
EBITDA Margin -3002.56 -4.002.54
Expense/Rs of Operation Revenue Rs 310 Rs 1442.8
ROCE -76.19 -140.75

Koo experienced financial difficulties in FY22. Although in FY21 it was -3002.56% and in FY22 it was -4.002.54%, the EBITDA margin remained negative. From Rs 310 in FY22 to Rs 1,442.86 in FY22, expenses as a percentage of revenue climbed dramatically, and ROCE also decreased from -76.19% in FY21 to -140.75% in FY22. These stats demonstrate Koo's continued financial challenges.

Koo - Funding and Investors

Koo has successfully raised more than $50.8 million in funding over the seven funding rounds that the company has witnessed. The company's last funding was $6 million from Accel and Tiger Global Management on November 22, 2022.

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
Nov 24, 2022 Venture Round $6 million Accel, Tiger Global Management
February 23, 2022 - $6.75 million -
January 2022 - $3.7 million Ashneer Grover, FBC Venture Partners, Yulubike’s Hemant Gupta, Adventz Finance Private Limited and more
May 26, 2021 Series B $30 million Tiger Global, IIFL Venture Capital Fund, Mirae Asset Management and others
Apr 2, 2021 Venture Round - Balaji Srinivasan, Naval Ravikant
Feb 4, 2021 Series A $4.1 million 3one4 Capital
Mar 1, 2020 Seed Round - -

Koo - Business and Revenue Model

The Koo business model is a platform-based model. The Koo revenue model is being explored at the moment. According to the founder, the app is looking for monetization at scale, and currently, it is exploring the advertising model. However, they want to follow a more targeted approach, focusing more on the demography and interests of their users.

Some of the revenue models Koo follows are:

Koo makes revenue when a user shares content on the Koo App, it's shown to their followers and can be discovered by others through tags and searches.

Brands get income on the platform by increasing the number of followers they have in addition to promoting content.

Premium Subscription

Koo App charges content creators for its Koo Premium service, which allows them to provide users with special benefits or written, audio, or visual content.

Koo - Features

Koo has launched various features till now. Below are the details of the prominent features:

  • "Talk to Type" was launched in May 2021 by Koo. This feature helps users leverage voice assistants to share their thoughts without having to type.
  • In August 2022, Koo introduced topics in ten different languages in its app feature. Users will be assisted by this feature in limiting their content viewing to more pertinent categories.
  • Four unique features were launched by Koo in September 2022. The four features are, enabled users to upload up to 10 profiles, save a Koo, schedule a Koo, and save drafts.
  • Koo launched a feature enabling writers to draft and compose posts using ChatGPT in March 2023. Creators will be able to draft their Koos with the aid of AI (Artificial Intelligence).
  • Koo launched the Safety feature in the App in March 2023. According to Koo, the new feature created in-house can identify and block any type of material that encourages child sex abuse in less than five seconds.
  • Koo introduced a monthly premium feature in June 2023. With this launch, creators can provide their users with exclusive material in exchange for a weekly or monthly subscription fee with Koo Premium.

Koo - Partnership and Tie-up

Koo has partnered with two companies till date:

  • Koo tie-up with India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) in September 2022. This tie-up aims to help the bank contact its clients in any part of the country, including rural areas and far-flung cities, where Koo will help them communicate with customers in different languages.
  • Koo partnered with IIT Delhi on August 6, 2022. The aim of this partnership was to raise awareness regarding air pollution.

Koo - Competitors

Many people believe Koo is yet another attempt to build something similar to Tooter, which claimed to be a "Swadeshi social network".

Koo is capitalizing on a burgeoning market in India for regional language social networking – but it's not alone. Some of the Koo competitors are:

  • Tooter
  • Namaste Bharat
  • Elyments

In August 2020, Koo won a popular competition sponsored by the Indian government as part of the Made-In-India program. As a result, Indian politicians are ecstatic about the newly launched Indian version of a microblogging platform and are encouraging others to join. What's also intriguing about Koo is that it's gaining a lot of traction in India, despite controversies over Twitter's ideological stance.

Although there's a lot of difference in the number of downloads of both apps, Koo's biggest competitor is Twitter.

Koo - Challenges Faced

The Koo app is leaking user information, according to French cybersecurity researcher Robert Baptiste, who also goes by the Twitter handle Elliot Alderson. Baptiste has previously identified security flaws in the Aadhaar scheme, as well as glitches and weaknesses in other tech services.

Meanwhile, there has been some speculation about a possible Chinese link to this app. Shunwei has also invested in Koo. Shunwei is related to Xiaomi and is a venture capital fund that invests in start-ups. Shunwei, on the other hand, is leaving the business and selling its shares, making Koo a completely Indian company. The co-founder of Koo has verified this.

Koo is seeing a reduction in monthly users in July 2022, it was 9.4 million, but it reduced to 4.1 million in January 2023.

Koo - Awards and Achievements

  • Koo was declared the winner of the Best Apps of 2020 in the Everyday Essentials category from India and awarded by Google Playstore at Google Awards 2020.
  • Koo won the government’s app innovation challenge in the social category in 2020.
  • Koo App wins Atma Nirbhar App Challenge in 2020.
  • Koo was declared the winner of Nasscom's prestigious 'League of 10 - Emerge 50' Award for 2021.

Koo - LayOffs

Koo laid off 30% of its employees, as reported by various news resources in April 2023. The reason for the layoff is due to the current market environment and the external realities of a global slowdown.

Koo - Shutdown

Mayank Bidawatka's LinkedIn Post on Koo Shutting Down
Mayank Bidawatka's LinkedIn Post on Koo Shutting Down

Koo is shutting down after unsuccessful attempts to secure deals with several major internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses.

In a post on 3rd July 2024 on LinkedIn, Koo's co-founder Mayank Bidawatka said that they were exploring partnerships with “multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates and media houses, but these talks didn’t yield the outcome” and that “a couple of them changed priority almost close to signing.”

This update follows a report by The Morning Context, which indicated that the deal between Koo and DailyHunt did not materialize. Although Koo successfully expanded its presence in Brazil, achieving over 1 million downloads within 48 hours of launch, it faced challenges gaining traction in the Indian market.


Is Koo app Indian?

Yes, Koo is a made-in-India application.

Which company owns Koo?

Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd owns Koo.

Who founded and started Koo?

Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka co-founded and started the Koo social media app and microblogging platform.

What is the Koo app founder's country?

Koo is an app that is founded in India. Both the Koo app founders, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka are based in India.

How many people use Koo app?

There are currently 60 million plus users of the Koo app.

Which companies do Koo compete with?

Tooter, Namaste Bharat, Elyments, and Twitter are the companies that Koo competes with.

Is Koo app listed in the stock market?

The Indian microblogging site Koo is not listed in the stock market.

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