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Koo app shuts down: Read founder Aprameya Radhakrishna’s full ‘final goodbye’ LinkedIn post

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Koo, an Indian social media app once seen as a rival to X (formerly Twitter), is shutting down, founder Aprameya Radhakrishna announced in a LinkedIn post. Reports claimed that the decision was taken after unsuccessful negotiations for a potential sale or merger with several companies, including DailyHunt.

“Here’s the final update from our end. Our partnership talks fell through and we will be discontinuing our service to the public. We explored partnerships with multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates and media houses but these talks didn’t yield the outcome we wanted. Most of them didn’t want to deal with user generated content and the wild nature of a social media company. A couple of them changed priority almost close to signing. While we would’ve liked to keep the app running, the cost of technology services to keep a social media app running is high and we’ve had to take this tough decision.

Koo has been built with a lot of heart. We saw a big gap between the languages the world speaks and the fact that most social products, especially X/Twitter in India are English dominant. In a world where 80% of the population speaks a language other than English, this is a strong need. We wanted to democratize expression and enable a better way to connect people in their local languages. Most global products are dominated by Americans. We believe that India should have a place at the table.

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. Koo used to have a 10% like ratio, almost 7-10x the ratio Twitter had – making Koo a more favorable platform for creators. At our peak we were at about 2.1 million daily active users and ~10 million monthly active users, 9000+ VIPs, that included some of the most eminent personalities from various fields. We were just months away from beating Twitter in India in 2022 and could have doubled down on that short term goal with capital behind us.

A prolonged funding winter which hit us at our peak hurt our plans at the time and we had to tone down on our growth trajectory. Social media is probably one of the toughest companies to build even with all resources available as you need to grow users to a significant scale before one thinks of revenue. We needed 5 to 6 years of aggressive, long term and patient capital to make this dream a reality.

Unfortunately for us, the mood of the market and the funding winter got the better of us. Timing the market is an underestimated variable. It can define and discount everything at times. Koo could have easily scaled internationally and given India a global brand that was truly made in India. This dream will remain.

We’re grateful to all those who’ve supported us along in our journey. Our team, that worked thousands of man hours to bring to life this beautiful product and company, our investors that backed us, millions of creators and users that poured their hearts out on the platform and spent millions of hours consuming content and our journalist friends that covered our updates with the public at large.

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. It’s been a long journey of 4+ years from thought to finish. We’ve had our highest highs and lowest lows while running Koo. It’s given us our fondest professional memories and we are grateful to the little bird for that.

What we’ve built is truly magnificent. We will be happy to share some of these assets with someone with a great vision for India’s foray into social media. We will also evaluate making this into a digital public good to enable social conversations in native languages, around the world. This is very difficult and complicated tech and we’ve built it painstakingly in record time.

Patient, long term capital is essential to build ambitious, world beating products from India – be it in social media, AI, space, EV or other futuristic categories. It will need a lot more capital when the space has a global giant already. And when one of these companies takes off, it can’t be left to the whims of the capital market, which goes up and down. It needs a strategic outlook to safeguard it and make it thrive. These aren’t to be looked at as profit churning machines in 2 years from launch. They need to be nurtured for a larger long term play. We would love to see that long term view for large bets from India.

Source: msn

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