Koo - Made-In-India Microblogging Platform

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Aug 26, 2021 9 min read
Koo - Made-In-India Microblogging Platform

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Koo.

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, III cities and 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 Bidwatka, two entrepreneurs, co-founded this microblogging platform. Its user base recently increased as a result of a spat between the government and Twitter.

Koo - Company Highlights

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

Koo - Latest News
About Koo and How it Works?
Koo - Vision and Mission
Koo - Name, Logo and Tagline
Koo - Founder and History
Koo - Atmanirbhar App Innovation
Koo - Growth
Koo - Funding and Investors
Koo - Revenue Model
Koo - Competitors
Koo - Challenges Faced
Koo - Future Plans
Koo - FAQs

Koo - Latest News

August 25, 2021 - The homegrown micro-blogging platform Koo crossed the 1 crore mark in downloads.

July 1, 2021 - Koo publishes its compliance report as per the latest social media rules of the Indian government. The Indian microblogging website becomes the first Indian social media company to do so where it claims to have taken down more than 1,900 contents via proactive monitoring and around 1,200 contents after they were reported against.

As of February 2021, Koo targets 10 crore users this year with the 'micro-blog of India' tag.

Despite the fact that Twitter is under fire in India, homegrown vernacular microblogging site Koo, which has quickly surpassed 40 lakh users, aims to cross 10 crore users by the end of the year, according to its co-founder Mayank Bidawataka. He claims that the firm is equipped to manage such high traffic because it is investing in technology that can handle such a large user base at scale.

"We want Koo to become a world-class app and want to be known as the micro-blog of India. Our teams are prepared to handle the growing online traffic. We have just closed Series A funding and our finances are stable," Bidawataka said.

About Koo and How it Works?

Koo (also known as Koo App) is an Indian microblogging and social networking service based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

It is the creator of 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.

The Koo microblogging application is targeted towards conversations in Indian regional languages, something that Twitter hasn't offered.

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 app 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."

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 as, 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

The new logo, according to co-founder Mayank Bidawatka, represents positivity, which is the "spirit of the application."

“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 colour, and they wanted it to spread positive messages across India. The bird makes a sweet sound that is referred to as Koo.

Its tagline is “to connect with Indians in Indian languages”.

Koo - Founder and History

Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka co-founded the microblogging platform. Radhakrishna was the founder of TaxiForSure, an online taxi booking service that was later acquired by Ola Cabs. The duo are also the founders of Vokal, an audio-video knowledge-sharing platform similar to Quora

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

After its launch in March 2020, Koo, called India's Twitter alternative, has received over 5.5 million downloads.

The reality about our country is that we are the only country with such a wide range of languages. In India, we speak over 50 languages, and the app has over one million users. And, after looking at what's going on on Twitter, the founders discovered that there's very little content in our native Indian languages. The founders began by looking at what was going on in Indian languages on established global microblogs. They looked at Twitter and discovered that there is very little content created in Indian languages. This is how 'Koo' was formed.

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-linked 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, demonstrates the government's willingness to push an alternative to the social networking platform.

The Koo App received 26 lakh installs in Indian app stores in 2020, compared to 2.8 crore for Twitter.

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

Koo - Growth

According to Koo's co-founder Bidawatka, the sudden rise in Koo's popularity can be linked in some ways to the boom in the usage of digital payments apps in India following the ban on high-value currency notes in late 2016.

Radhakrishna, Koo's co-founder, and CEO said that he is shoring up the company's network and tripling its technology team in order to be able to invite more high-profile guests, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he joins. According to him, following Twitter's refusal to delete some Indian accounts and tweets, it continued to see an unprecedented increase of 10-20x growth in new users compared to a typical day.

With the latest funding round that came in May 2021, the company has raised $30 million from a host of investors that includes Tiger Global, IIFL Venture Capital Fund, Mirae Asset Management, and other existing investors, which increased the total valuation of Koo five-fold.

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.

Here are some more growth highlights of the brand:

  • Koo boasts of having more than 1000 celebrities on its platform.
  • It has announced having 1,00,000+ creators in total.
  • The platform has more than 1,000,000 users.

Koo - Funding and Investors

Koo has successfully raised $34 million in funding over 3 funding rounds that the company has witnessed.

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
May 26, 2021 - $30M 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 $4M 3one4 Capital

Koo - Revenue Model

The Koo revenue model is being explored at the moment. According to the founder, the app is looking for monetisation 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.

Koo - Competitors

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

Koo is capitalizing on a burgeoning market in India for regional language social networking – but it's not alone; Tooter, Namaste Bharat, Elyments, and others are doing the same thing.

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 the 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 - Future Plans

Koo has only been around for a year, having gone public in May 2020, but it already has 4.2 million users. Koo is capitalizing on a burgeoning market in India for regional language social networking – but it's not alone; Tooter, Namaste Bharat, Elyments, and others are doing the same thing. In the future, it plans to provide support for Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Meitei, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, and Urdu.

"First, we want to go deeper into India as that has so far not been cracked. As we said the voice of India, irrespective of what language you speak is our first primary goal. In that process, once we get a hang of that, we would like to go to countries that have a primarily non-English speaking population. That’s what we are doing in India and we want to take that playbook elsewhere. Once we’re done with non-English speaking countries, we will look at English-speaking countries as well. It’s a step-by-step process. We want to do it one-by-one and not get too distracted," said Mayank.

Koo - FAQs

Is Koo app Indian?

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

Which company owns Koo?

Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd owns Koo.

Who founded Koo?

Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka co-founded this microblogging platform.

How many people use Koo app?

There are currently 5.2 million users of the Koo app.

Which companies do Koo compete with?

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

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