Indian Social Media Platform Koo Faces Financial Difficulties, Pauses Employee Salaries

Koo Social
Preeti Bali / 11:22 am / April 30, 2024

Koo, a prominent Indian social media platform known for its emphasis on regional languages, has been forced to suspend employee salary payments due to a critical financial situation. Mayank Bidawatka, co-founder of Koo, made the announcement public in an extensive post on LinkedIn, citing April 2024 as the starting point for the suspension.

Difficult Choice Amidst Funding Winter

Bidawatka explained that the company is desperately seeking additional funding or a potential buyer to sustain operations. He expressed regret for resorting to such a drastic measure, stating, “We’ve exhausted all options to extend our financial runway and ensure timely payments for employees and vendors. Salary reductions were also implemented, but cutting the salaries of those who helped build Koo was a painful decision.”

He further elaborated on the difficult choice the company faced: “We had two options – lay off a significant portion of the workforce or implement a salary reduction for everyone. We opted for the latter, allowing our employees to maintain some financial stability during a time when startup hiring is at an all-time low.”

Investment Slowdown Hampers Growth Potential

The financial crisis plaguing Koo is a reflection of a larger phenomenon – a global slowdown in startup investments. Bidawatka highlighted that ongoing discussions regarding funding or acquisition have come to a standstill due to the “funding winter,” a term describing the current challenging investment climate.

A Promising Start Overshadowed by Financial Hurdles

Launched in 2020 by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, Koo has emerged as a leading player in India’s social media landscape, particularly popular among users seeking content in their native languages. The platform attracted significant investments from prominent venture capital firms like Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, and 3one4 Capital.

Exploring Strategic Partnerships for Survival

Despite the financial roadblocks, Koo’s management remains focused on exploring strategic partnerships to expand the platform’s reach and user base. “Given the current sluggish investor market, partnering with a company that possesses the distribution strength to propel Koo’s user growth is the most viable path forward,” Bidawatka stated previously.

Acquisition Rumors Surface Amidst Uncertainty

There have been whispers of potential acquisition talks involving Dailyhunt, another major player in the content aggregation space. As of FY22, Dailyhunt reportedly boasts over 350 million monthly active users, making it a potentially attractive partner for Koo.

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