Indian Startups Mitron and Trell Make Hay Amid Chinese App Ban

Indian TikTok alternatives Mitron and Trell have raised fresh funding of US$5 million and $11.43 million respectively

Since the Indian government banned popular Chinese social media app TikTok along with 58 others, a slew of Indian companies have emerged to pocket the market share left behind these apps.

Indian short-video sharing apps Mitron and Trell have raised fresh capital as investors re-evaluate the potential of indigenous startups in light of the current political tension between China and India.

According to a report by Entrepeneur, Mitron raised US$5 million in a Series A funding round, the company announced on Monday. The round was led by Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from 3one4 Capital and LetsVenture.

The new round of financing comes a little over a month after Mitron bagged seed funding of approximately $267,000 (INR 2 crore) from 3One4 Capital and LV Angel Fund.

The Government of India banned 59 Chinese apps in India, and later added 47 more to the list which includes popular apps such as WeChat, Shareit, Clash of Kings, Club Factory, and Baidu, leaving an estimated market of 100-120 million daily active users for Indian companies to grab. The government cited security reasons for the move, that was heartily welcomed amidst the rising anti-China sentiment in India.

The Bengaluru-based startup will use the fresh funds to accelerate product development, and acquire new talent. Barely 4-month-old Mitron has over 33 million downloads and registers 9 billion video views per month, according to the report.

“We have been rapidly improving our product experience and with this funding round, we plan to invest further in hiring top notch product & engineering talent that will help us build a world-class platform that can scale seamlessly,” Mitron Co-founder and CTO Anish Khandelwal told Entrepreneur.

Nexus Venture Partners Principal Pratik Poddar said, “We have been tracking them for 3 months and loved the way they have evolved their thinking around content creation, community management and video delivery.”

“We love backing ‘product and tech-first’ entrepreneurs. We believe eventually the best product with long term thinking will win. Focus is to create a high engagement and high retention community. Then only you can be long term partners for creators,” he added.

According to regulatory filings found by Entrackr on Monday, another indigenous TikTok alternative, Trel,l has raised $11.43 million in a Series A funding round led by KTBN Ventures and Samsung Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Surge, Firebolt Ventures, and existing investor Beijing-based Fosun RZ Capital.

Trell, also based in Bengaluru, has 25 million monthly active users and over 75 million downloads, Co-founder Pulkit Agarwal told Economic Times. The startup is also planning to launch a social commerce platform in the next 6 months, according to the ET report.

With the latest capital infusion, the 2017 founded startup’s total haul stands at $16.95 million to date.

Other notable competitors in the market have also attracted investment in the last few weeks, including Chingari, which raised seed funding of $1.3 million last week, and Bolo Indya, which raised $500,000. Regional language social media platform ShareChat, is also reportedly in talks with Google and others to raise $150-200 million.

Header image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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