Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Chingari in talks to raise funds at $1 bn valuation

NEW DELHI : Tech4Billion Media is set to raise $200 million at a valuation of $1 billion, which will catapult the operator of video-sharing platform Chingari into India’s fast-growing league of so-called startup unicorns, said two people familiar with the matter.

Chingari will raise the fresh capital in its Series B round of funding, the people said, adding the robust valuation will be helped by the successful listing of its social token GARI on several cryptocurrency exchanges last month.

The company has already received commitments of at least $100 million, the people cited above said, requesting anonymity. Unicorns are startups that boast a valuation of at least $1 billion.

The platform, which claims to be one of India’s fastest-growing short-video apps, is in talks with several local and overseas venture capital firms and crypto-focused funds for the fundraising, the people cited above said. They expect the funding round to close in about two months.

Chingari did not respond to an email query till press time.

The year that went by saw a surge in funding and valuations in India’s startup ecosystem, with 42 startups turning unicorns. The first quarter of 2022 saw the trend continue, with 14 companies emerging as unicorns, including DealShare, Polygon, and Games 24x7.

Chingari had this January raised an additional $15 million in an extended Series A round led by Republic Capital. In April 2021, the startup raised 95 crore in its Series A round led by OnMobile Global.

Founded in November 2018 by Sumit Ghosh, Deepak Salvi, Aditya Kothari and Biswatma Nayak, Chingari lets users download and upload short videos and shop for the merchandise within the app, among other things.

Chingari’s platform is hosting over 130 million users across India and showcases videos in over 15 languages. The Chingari app supports real-time video commerce, where every video that gets uploaded on the platform is parsed frame by frame, and all detected objects are matched with Amazon’s live catalogue. This allows users to shop through the platform. In addition, Chingari also offers features such as Chingari Multiplex and Chingari TV to grow the entertainment quotient further.

However, Chingari’s move to introduce India’s first crypto-token, GARI, especially at a time of heightened interest for web3 companies, is drawing a lot of eyeballs for the startup. The $GARI token is built on the Solana blockchain network, an up-and-coming cryptocurrency often seen as a competitor to Ethereum.

GARI had raised $40 million within 24 hours of its live sale on the Republic platform last November. Republic is a crowd-equity platform that offers startups, real estate, gaming, and crypto investments.

The crypto-token had also secured $19 million from 30 venture funds and individual investors a month before. The funds were raised using a token round. A token round is where investors invest in a startup by buying tokens of the project directly, which in this case is $GARI. GARI is currently listed on several top global centralized exchanges, including CoinDCX, HUObi and MEXC Global. GARI is now available on the Chingari app, and creators can start making videos and earnings in $GARI Social Tokens.

Web3 and cryptocurrency deals saw a big surge last year and are expected to see continued investor interest this year as well, especially with the government’s ruling on the validity of digital assets. Within this space, several new business models emerged across decentralized finance (DeFi), or an open-source movement; cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across early-stage deals.

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