Failed Acquisition Talks Lead to Shutdown of Indian Startup Koo

By Sunil Sonkar
2 Min Read
Failed Acquisition Talks Lead to Shutdown of Indian Startup Koo

Indian social media startup Koo, which once was believed to become a powerful homegrown alternative to Twitter (now X), has surprisingly announced shut down of its operations. The decision of bringing to end the journey of micro blogging was a result of collapse of acquisition talks with various potential partners. Co-founders Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka made the announcement in a LinkedIn post on July 3.

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The story of Koo is one of ambition and rapid growth. It was launched basically launched to cater Indian users and successfully positioned itself as a direct competitor to X. It was at its peak during the period of legal disputes of X with the government. Its appeal lay in its local flavor and its commitment to regional languages. It even attracted a broad user base. It boasted 9.4 million monthly users in July 2022.

Koo initially was backed by major investors like Tiger Global, Accel and Kalaari Capital. However, its fortune started changing and the first sign appeared in September 2022 when the company laid off 40 employees. April 2023 situation further worsened with another round of layoffs. About 30% of the workforce was affected. Simultaneously, active user base on the platform dropped to 3.1 million.

The co-founders revealed in that they had been in discussions with several larger internet companies, conglomerates and media houses either for acquisition or for partnerships. However, the talks yielded nothing positive. Many potential partners were wary of the challenges associated with managing user-generated content as well as the volatile nature of social media lately. Moreover, some media partners changed their priorities at the last moment. This further complicating the negotiations.

Running a social media platform is an expensive endeavor. It requires a significant investment in technology and infrastructure as well.

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