Less than a year ago, the Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY) decided to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps, which were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order. Eight months later, the Indian startup industry is reaping the benefits of that thoughtful decision.
One man's loss is another man's gain. In this case, the ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps benefited the Indian startup industry like never before. Although unintended, the booming startup space in the country is hard to ignore. The ban alone cannot be the contributing factor to this uprising, whereas several government programmes helmed by PM Modi including Make in India, AtmaNirbhar Bharat have played a crucial role.
Nevertheless, the ban on Chinese apps gave Indian startups space to breathe freely and explore new territories. One that shined is the short video entertainment space, which is likely to get its fourth unicorn in eight months time. This can be largely credited to the popularity created by TikTok and a large void left to be explored when the app was banned in India.
Unicorns and soon-to-be unicorns
As soon as TikTok left Indian consumers craving for alternative options, we saw plethora of apps offering short video entertainment to viewers - one that can be accessed by Indian users in absence of TikTok. Dailyhunt and Glance shot to fame and they were the hottest investment opportunities for VCs. As per their last financing rounds, Dailyhunt and Glance were valued at over $1 billion, making them unicorns.
ShareChat, too, has managed to get some Big Tech firms to invest and there are even rumours that Twitter is considering acquiring the startup, which owns Moj, for $1.1 billion. Earlier this year, rumours were rife about Google leading a $300 million funding round in ShareChat, putting its value at more than $1 billion. But no further developments were reported on that since. It is well on track to become a unicorn - if it hasn't already.
That's not it, MX Player is well on its path to becoming the next unicorn. Entrackr reported on Wednesday that MX Player, which operates MX TakaTak, is in talks to raise up to $150 million, which will put its valuation at over $900 million.