India’s ban on TikTok left a vacuum in short form video space and several domestic platforms have been competing with each other to become the new home of the 200 million odd TikTok users in the country
NEW DELHI: Homegrown short form video app Bolo Indya plans to raise around $6 million-$7 million ( ₹45-51 crore) as it looks to ramp up the platform’s personalisation and recommendation engine and predictive analytics capabilities. It also considering expanding its team by 100%, with special focus on technology and e-commerce, and setting up a training platform for creating, a senior executive at the startup told Mint.
The startup is in advanced talks with investors for the funding and is hoping to finalise the deal by March 2021.
Prior to this, Bolo Indya had raised close to ₹6 crore with three angel rounds in 2020.
Bolo Indya has a peer-to-peer engagement service called BoloMeets, which allows creators to connect directly to followers through live video sessions that can last longer than the 70 seconds time limit stipulated for short videos.
“It provides creators an opportunity to offer a personalised online service directly to their followers and get paid for it by them within the platform," said Varun Saxena, CEO, Bolo Indya.
BoloMeets is currently being used by over 10,000 creators with highest numbers of creators engaging in local Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu. Saxena is expecting the numbers to grow to over 1 lakh creators by the end of March.
Founded in 2019, Bolo Indya has over 68 lakh monthly active users. Though the numbers are lower than some of their rivals, Saxena is unfazed. “We are not building towards being a social media platform, but more towards being a consumer internet company driven by lots of consumer-to-consumer transactions," he adds.
Saxena said the way investors analyse these platforms will change in the next 9-12 months. Platforms where users spend more time are the ones that will survive.
Improving the user experience using AI will be another key focus area for the startup. “Getting close to what TikTok was offering will be a key focus area for us during the next 6 to 12 months. But we should not forget that ByteDance was actually an AI company out of which TikTok came out. It took them years to build that sort of predictive models," adds Saxena.