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Indian Social Media Startup Koo Announces Closure

New Delhi: Indian social media startup Koo, once touted as an alternative to microblogging giant X (formerly known as Twitter), has announced it is shutting down its services. Founders Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka made the announcement on Wednesday, attributing the decision to a “prolonged funding winter.”

Launched in March 2020, Koo quickly gained prominence in 2021 as a platform “built for Indians to share their views in their mother tongue and have meaningful discussions.” The app became especially popular following endorsements from several government officials during a period of contention between the Narendra Modi government and Twitter. The Indian government had asked Twitter to block accounts related to the 2020-2021 farmers’ protests and had threatened penal action if the company did not comply.

Koo’s rapid rise was marked by significant milestones. In February 2021, the app partnered with “Mann Ki Baat,” a radio program hosted by Prime Minister Modi. Earlier, in August 2020, Koo had won the AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge, an initiative by the government to promote self-reliance in India.

On LinkedIn, Radhakrishna and Bidawatka explained that the company hit a funding roadblock just as it was reaching its peak. “We explored partnerships with multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses, but these talks didn’t yield the outcome we wanted,” they said. “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.”

The founders expressed their regret at having to shut down the app, citing high technology service costs as a primary reason.

Despite recent talks with Dailyhunt and Sharechat for a buyout, no agreement was reached, sealing Koo’s fate.

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