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A Social Media Flight Cut Short: X's Desi Rival Koo Soars No More

Why did Koo, the Indian Twitter rival, fold its wings? Find out what challenges they faced and what the future holds for the founders! Read the full article.

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Swati Dayal
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Koo, the Indian social media platform envisioned as a Twitter alternative, is set to take flight for the last time. The founders, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, made the announcement on LinkedIn, citing challenges in securing funding and high operational costs.

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A Dreamt Flight Path: From Humble Beginnings to Promising Takeoff

Founded in 2020, Koo aimed to provide a homegrown platform for Indian users. It mirrored Twitter's interface, allowing users to share text, audio, and video content. At its peak, Koo had around 2.1 million daily active users and 10 million monthly users, including over 9000 VIPs.The app gained early traction, attracting prominent personalities like Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and celebrities like Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath. It even garnered international attention from Brazilian celebrities and authors.

Turbulence Hits: Funding Headwinds and Downsizing

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Despite initial success and a $60 million funding infusion from investors like Tiger Global, Koo faced headwinds. The "prolonged funding winter," as described by the founders, made further fundraising difficult. The company responded with a workforce reduction of 30% in April 2023 as user growth stagnated and global market sentiment dipped.

Unforeseen Landing: Acquisition Talks Stall, Leading to Shutdown

Negotiations for a potential acquisition by Dailyhunt fell through, leaving Koo with limited options. The high cost of maintaining a robust technological infrastructure further strained their resources. In their farewell message, the founders highlighted these factors as key contributors to the shutdown.

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A Legacy of Innovation and A Hopeful Future

Despite the closure, Koo leaves behind a legacy of innovation. They credit themselves with building a "globally scalable product" with advanced features and a user-centric approach. The platform's support for multiple Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Marathi was a significant contribution to online inclusivity.

"Our team stuck around with us through thick and thin all along the way. We are very fortunate to have worked with such a passionate bunch of folks who believed in the purpose of our company."

The founders hinted at their comeback as entrepreneurs. "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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A Fond Farewell and a Hint of What's Next

The founders expressed their gratitude to their team, investors, creators, and users. They remain optimistic about the future of social media in India, hoping for "an inclusive platform" to emerge.

The message also hinted at a potential return. "As for us, we are entrepreneurs at heart and you will see us back in the arena one way or another," they said.

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Koo's story may be ending, but the wings of its founders remain unclipped. The Indian social media landscape may soon see them take flight once again.

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