India’s TikTok Alternative Chingari Raises US$1.3M Seed Round

Chingari will use the latest investment to acquire more talent for product development and to make the platform more customer-centric and engaging

Indigenous short video sharing app Chingari, which gained in popularity after TikTok got banned in India, has raised US$1.3 million in a seed round, the startup announced in a press release yesterday.

AngelList India, Utsav Somani’s iSeed, Village Global, LogX Ventures, and Jasminder Singh Gulati of NowFloats participated in the round, according to the statement.

The fresh funds will be used to acquire more talent to accelerate product development, and ramp up the platform to make it more customer-centric and engaging to attract a larger base of consumers, Chingari said in the statement.

Founded in 2018, the Chingari app, TikTok’s Indian substitute, allows consumers to share short videos in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Bangla, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu.

Chingari consumers can download and upload videos, chat with friends, interact with new people, create and share content on the platform, among other things. It also allows users to get creative with WhatsApp status, Videos, Audio clips, GIF stickers, and photos.

Shortly after India banned 59 Chinese apps amid rising political tension and growing anti-China sentiments, the home-grown social app, which had 3.5 million users on the day of the ban, soared in popularity as Indians looked for TikTok alternatives. Chingari currently boasts of a 25 million strong user base and records more than 3 million daily active users.

According to the statement, Chingari pays 30% of its earnings from brands to content creators on its platform, and maintains high data privacy standards.

Chingari also won the AtmaNirbhar App Challenge organized by the Ministry of Information and technology, Government of India. While the tensions between India and China have been brewing for a while, in a bid to promote indigenous startups and apps, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the AtmaNirbhar (Self-dependent) challenge to find Indian apps with the potential for global expansion.

Utsav Somani, Partner, AngelList India, said, “Sumit and team Chingari have shown how to ship product features at a pace that I have not come across before. They have their ears to the ground, listening to users and are engaging with them on all channels to translate that into the best short video content experience for Bharat’s demanding users.”

Jasminder Singh Gulati, Founder, NowFloats said, “While Chingari has grown at breakneck speed, it also suggests that India always had the abilities to build our own. With Chingari winning the Atma Nirbhar App Innovation Challenge, we have reached a tipping point in the adoption of homemade products. For Bharat, by Bharat, was delayed initially, but won’t be denied anymore.”

Header image courtesy of Chingari

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