Koo to Shut Down After Four Years Following Failed Acquisition Talks

Koo, an Indian startup launched in 2020 to compete with Twitter (now known as X), is closing down. Founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, the company will cease operations after acquisition discussions with “multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses” fell through, according to the founders. Koo aimed to provide an alternative to US-based internet services in India, catering to users in local languages.

Founders Announce Shutdown In a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, Radhakrishna and Bidawatka announced Koo’s shutdown due to unsuccessful acquisition talks. A February TechCrunch report indicated that Koo was in discussions to be acquired by Bangalore-based news and content aggregator Dailyhunt.

The founders mentioned that some companies involved in the talks “changed priority almost close to signing” and that “most of them didn’t want to deal with user-generated content and the unpredictable nature of a social media company.”

At its peak, Koo had around 10 million monthly active users and 2.1 million daily active users. The app gained popularity, especially after being endorsed by the government, during a period of tension between Twitter and the Indian government over content takedown requests. In 2022, Koo reached 50 million users and aimed to surpass Twitter’s user base in India within a year.

Koo’s growth was also hindered by a prolonged funding winter affecting many startups globally. Radhakrishna noted that Koo needed five to six years of “aggressive, long-term, and patient capital” to grow its user base significantly before generating revenue.

Ultimately, the decision to shut down Koo was made due to the high costs of running the social media app. In 2022, Koo now made its algorithms public, and the founders now consider turning the service into “a digital public good to enable social conversations in native languages worldwide.”

Shruti Suman

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