BENGALURU: Chinese investment firm Shunwei Capital, founded by Xiaomi founders Lei Jun and Tuck Lye Koh, has made a full exit from Koo, the desi alternative to Twitter. Koo gained prominence in India following the government’s strained relations with Twitter over content moderation in February.
Shunwei, which has placed several aggressive bets on Indian startups, held about 9% stake in Koo’s parent firm Bombinate Technologies.
Koo’s existing investors like venture funds Accel Partners, Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital and 3one4 Capital have bought half of Shunwei’s stake and the rest has been bought by prominent angel investors, including new names like former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath.
Other angel investors who have participated are BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, and Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamat.
“The fact that they are building a platform to bring the voices of Indian language audiences onto the internet is commendable and as an Indian I extend my support to them wholeheartedly,” said Srinath.
With Shunwei’s exit, Koo becomes the first Indian startup to have done a full clean up of a Chinese investor from the company since border tensions started last year.
Owing to the uncertainties around Chinese FDI, several startups with Chinese investors in their firm are either trying to give them exits or are going ahead raising new capital without taking any new money from them, TOI reported earlier this month.
Shunwei’s exit is said to have happened at a slightly higher valuation than when Shunwei invested in Koo’s parent firm. Koo has not disclosed the details.
Aprameya Radhakrishna, co-founder and CEO of Koo, said they had been in discussion with Shunwei Capital to enable a smooth exit. Koo has nearly 5 million users, he said.