It's not just TikTok, its clone apps in India too have a beeline of investors

It's not just TikTok, its clone apps in India too have a beeline of investors
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  • TikTok might have taken a hit with the growing resentment against Chinese apps, but it has also opened up the line of investors with the likes of Microsoft and Oracle in the US and Reliance in India.
  • But it’s not just TikTok alone. The ban on the app in India along with several other Chinese apps in late June this year gave its clone apps overnight popularity.
  • In August alone, Indian video-sharing apps have closed almost $20 million in funding so far.
TikTok doesn’t just have millions of users dancing to its tunes, it also has marquee investors around the world picking up a tune to sing along with the Chinese giant. From Microsoft and now, reportedly Oracle looking to buy TikTok in the US, to India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani looking to buy the Indian business, the company has investors looking to cash in on its popularity.

But it’s not just TikTok alone. The ban on the app in India along with several other Chinese apps in late June this year gave its clone apps overnight popularity. It even saw Facebook pushing out its new Instagram update and TikTok lookalike – Instagram Reels, just days after the ban.

While TikTok’s real number of users aren’t reported by the company, the app was high up on the top downloads charts in India and had seen over 611 million downloads. And with these users looking to move to newer video destinations, Indian video sharing apps wanted to ride on the ban and the country’s AtmaNirbhar initiative.

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So evidently, venture capital money has also made its way to its India clone apps. In August alone, the Indian video-sharing apps have closed almost $20 million in funding so far, and as reports say, there are bigger ones on the cards. Indian social media startup Sharechat, which had also launched its own video sharing platform Moj, is reportedly in talks with Microsoft and Google for an investment. Sharechat was also Twitter’s first startup investment in India.

Chingari

Chingari, shot to fame overnight, so much so that its founders were tracking the hundreds of thousands of users coming in every hour right after the TikTok ban while working for 48 hours with no sleep. The app also won the best video sharing app in the Indian government’s AtmaNirbhar app challenge. Chingari raised $1.3 million in August from LogX Ventures, iSeed, Village Global along with angel investors like Brian Norgard, the former Chief Product Officer of Tinder, who has invested in SpaceX, AngelList, Notion among others.

Mitron
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Mitron, which gained popularity, even before the TikTok, thanks to its name being a word used famously by PM Narendra Modi, has raised two rounds of funding in recent times. Today the company has announced that it has raised $5 million, led by Nexus Venture Partners. 3one4 Capital and Arun Tadanki’s private syndicate on LetsVenture, along with a slew of angel investors like Deep Kalra (MakeMyTrip founder), Amarjit Batra (Spotify India head), among others.

The startup said that it has over 33 million downloads on the Play Store and garners 9 billion video views per month.

Trell
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Trell raised $11.4 million in a Series A round led by KTB Network. The round also saw participation from Samsung Ventures, Gokul Rajaram (Board Member, Pinterest, Square, DoorDash), Sequoia’s Surge, Fosun RZ Capital, among others. With 75 million downloads, the app claims to have grown over 27 times in the last 12 months and also has 25 million monthly active users. “Since the Chinese App ban, Trell has witnessed 500% growth with over 15 million creators on its platform receiving more than 5 billion monthly views,” the company said.

Bolo Indya

Another TikTok clone app, Bolo Indya, closed a seed funding round of $500,000 with over 40 lakh monthly active users. The startup’s funding was led by Eagle10 Ventures and India Accelerator. With a focus on vernacular language growth, the company’s founder Varun Saxena had said he aims to “see ourselves to be on at least one smartphone of every Indian household with a non-English user within the span of next 18 months”.
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