We’ve been writing about Indian social media firm ShareChat in the past year, mainly because it’s the company behind one of the most successful new TikTok rivals in India: Moj. After signing up 50 million Moj users in its first month, ShareChat raised a $40m funding round; struck some music licensing deals; and tapped Audible Magic for copyright-detection technology, while also fielding rumours that western tech firms Google and Snap wanted to invest in the company.

Well, that was partly correct. The Financial Times reported today that ShareChat has raised a $502m funding round valuing the company at $2.1bn, with investors including Snap, Twitter and Tiger Global Management. The report includes the latest stats for ShareChat’s products: its main app has 160 million monthly active users, while Moj now has more than 120 million – making it one of the leaders in the scramble to replace TikTok, after that app was banned in India last summer.

The wider context here is western tech firms also scrambling to invest in those companies. In December 2020, Google and Microsoft were part of a $100m-plus funding round for Verse Innovation, the company behind short-videos app Josh. Google also led a $145m round for Indian firm InMobi’s Glance and Roposo subsidiaries, with Roposo having been one of the other big growth stories of that post-TikTok-ban launch frenzy.

Music may not be the sole focus for these hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the Indian short-videos space, but it can be a beneficiary. Indian labels were quick to lay down the licensing law to the emerging apps, and some deals have since been struck between those apps and rightsholders.

More will follow, while musicians will be important partners for these apps – which are also following the TikTok template of building their own communities of music influencers, capable of breaking new music (not to mention old tracks) with their videos. While India is a huge market to target for starters, it will be interesting to see whether funding from western tech firms and investors ramps up their global ambitions too.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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