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Koo is catching the imagination of common people: Aprameya

In an exclusive interview with, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-founder & CEO of the India-made micro-blogging platform Koo, recently spoke about his journey of creating an indigenous social media app for India, the challenges, achievements and much more.

Talking about the time when the idea of introducing a social media app indigenous to India took birth, Aprameya let us know, “The idea of Koo occurred to Mayank (Mayank Bidawatka, Co-founder of Koo) and me while building Vokal. Vokal was our first multilingual product. It is a question and answer platform for users to share and acquire knowledge. Responders on the platform expressed their desire to share free flowing thoughts instead of just answering questions. We enabled that through an ‘express’ button on Vokal itself but that did not work since Vokal was a heavy Q&A use case. That’s when we decided to have a separate app for it. That experiment of a separate app is Koo.”

“We saw an enormous gap in digital content creation in native languages. The online space largely focused on English-speaking, urban Indians.  In a country like India, where more than 90% of the population thinks and speaks in regional languages, the power of expression in people’s own languages is immense. We began work on developing the Koo platform in November 2019 and launched it in March 2020. We went live in Kannada from Mandya, a district in Karnataka, near Mysore. The promising feedback we received from the media at the launch press conference boosted our confidence, and eventually led us to launch Hindi in the next few months. In July 2020, we participated in the Atmanirbhar Bharat App Challenge – showcasing an app that offered a deeply immersive experience for Indians in their mother tongues.  We were among the top three apps in social media out of the 7,000 startups which participated!  The Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi mentioned Koo in the August 2020 edition of his ‘Mann ki Baat’ interaction”, he added.

Next, the Koo co-founder and CEO told us about how both the founders came together in order to build the app, “We first met during my TaxiForsure journey where we tried to bring Mayank on board as one of core team members. He wanted to go down the entrepreneurial path at that stage and we kept in touch and became good friends. Both Mayank and I are driven by the number of people we can create a positive impact upon by using technology. We finally could get together once he was free from his entrepreneurial journey at Goodbox and joined me while I was building Vokal.”

On being asked about the challenges they faced while creating the app, Radhakrishna mentioned, “As an early stage start-up, resource crunches of all kinds were definitely a major challenge. Also, social networks have never been built in India before. So the talent available also needs to learn and grow with the company. Our recent fundraise of $30 mn will definitely help overcome the talent crunch we used to face, and attract some of the best minds of India to join us in building the first-ever social network out of India. Also, Koo has been built remotely for its entire journey. The new team which has joined us has rarely ever met each other in person. We can’t wait to get the entire team back in office again to feed on each other’s enthusiastic energy.”

“Winning the Atmanirbhar Bharat App challenge in 2020 put us in the right spotlight. It helped us showcase Koo as a real alternative to global social media. In July 2020, we participated in the App Challenge showcasing an app that offered a deeply immersive experience for Indians in their mother tongues. Since then, there has been no looking back – today Koo is available in 8 languages, including English. With over 7 million downloads, the traction Koo has gained has been phenomenal. Koo is being used by celebrities as well as some of the most prominent faces across various spectrums of society, including sports, politics, entertainment, etc. More importantly, Koo is catching the imagination of the common people, who are shaking off their reluctance to speak on social media because of their lack of English-speaking ability”, said the Koo CEO while talking about what he believed to be the first major ‘milestone’ achieved after the Indian social media platform was launched.

When asked about Koo’s journey to Nigeria and the Nigerians’ response to the platform, Aprameya replied, “We launched Nigeria at a time when the country needed a micro-blogging platform. Within a week of our launch the Government of Nigeria as well as the President of Nigeria created their handles on Koo. We have since then had more than 250,000 downloads in Nigeria and are now planning to introduce local Nigerian language communities, as well, which will enable wide adoption of the platform.”

The Koo CEO, about the social media platform going global in future said, “There are several countries where the majority of the populations are non-English speakers and a need to connect deeper in the respective countries. These could be countries across South East Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and other parts of the world. Right now, we are focussed on growing aggressively in India and are also learning how to go about expanding globally through our entry into Nigeria. These experiences will enable us to launch in other countries at once in a year.”


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