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Koo Bids Farewell: India’s Homegrown Twitter Rival Shuts Down

Koo shuts down due to financial difficulties


Koo Bids Farewell: India’s Homegrown Twitter Rival Shuts Down

Koo, the Indian social media platform that emerged as a homegrown rival to Twitter (now X), has announced its shutdown. The platform’s founders, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, cited financial difficulties and an unpredictable market as the primary reasons behind this decision. Despite its notable achievements, the high costs associated with maintaining technology services and unsuccessful partnership talks have led to this unfortunate outcome.

The Rise and Fall of Koo

Koo was launched in 2020 with the ambition to offer an Indian alternative to the globally dominant Twitter (now X). It quickly gained traction, particularly after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, which led to a surge in users looking for new social media options. At its peak, Koo boasted around 2.1 million daily active users and 10 million monthly users, including over 9000 VIPs. The platform was a favored choice among many prominent Indian politicians and celebrities, which significantly boosted its user base.

However, despite this initial success, Koo struggled to maintain its growth trajectory. The company faced a severe cash crunch amid tough macroeconomic conditions. Founders Radhakrishna and Bidawatka highlighted the high technology costs and an unpredictable capital market as major challenges. The prolonged funding winter forced the company to scale down, and by April 2023, Koo began laying off a significant portion of its workforce.

Financial Struggles and Shutdown

Koo’s financial troubles were apparent in its regulatory filings, which reported a loss of ₹197 crore for the financial year 2021-22 on an operating revenue of just ₹14 lakh. Despite investor interest from prominent firms like Tiger Global and Accel, which pumped in over $60 million, the platform struggled to monetize effectively. This financial strain ultimately led to the decision to shut down the platform.

The founders expressed their disappointment over the failed partnership talks that could have potentially saved the platform. They had approached various media houses and internet companies for acquisition, but these discussions did not yield the desired results. According to Bidawatka, many potential buyers were hesitant to engage with user-generated content and the unpredictable nature of a social media company.

A Farewell Note

In their farewell message, the founders extended their gratitude to their supporters, team, investors, creators, and users. They acknowledged the challenges but also celebrated the journey and the achievements they made along the way. “We built a globally scalable product in a fraction of the time that X/Twitter did, with superior systems, algorithms, and strong stakeholder-first philosophies,” they noted.

Despite the shutdown, the founders remain optimistic about their future ventures. They hinted at a potential comeback as entrepreneurs, expressing a desire to continue contributing to India’s digital landscape. “As for us, we are entrepreneurs at heart, and you will see us back in the arena one way or another. Till then, thank you for your time, attention, good wishes, and love. The little yellow bird says its final goodbye…”

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