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Koo Aims To Be A Digital Product Built From India, For The World: CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna
Social media platforms are witnessing massive overhauls. In India, Koo is one of the budding microblogging sites with support for regional languages. With an aim to lock horns with Twitter, Koo currently has over 15 million downloads. That said, Koo believes it still has a long way to go for its ultimate goal to be one of the few digital products built in India for the world.
We recently spoke to Aprameya Radhakrishna, the CEO and Co-founder of Koo to know more about the popular microblogging site. Looking back, Koo debuted in India during the pandemic and the consequent lockdown. From finding talent who specifically understands the nuances of Indian languages to build a deeply immersive language-based platform, Koo has faced many hardships.
At the same time, Koo hit the market right around the time when Chinese apps were being banned in the country. It was a time that sparked a movement to shift to made-in-India brands and platforms. When asked about this phase, Radhakrishna says the growth during this time was like a "small spurt."
He further explains that the opportunity was waiting to be tapped as over 90 percent of India's population thinks and speaks in a native language, which is fuelling Koo's growth. "Koo's key value proposition is built around enabling multi-language expression, and this is what is driving us ahead," he says. Additionally, we spoke to him about Twitter being a competition and Koo's future. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Koo and Twitter are seen as competitors in India. Despite coming as a Made-in-India and vocal-support option, a lot of people haven't made a switch yet. Why do you think this is?
Like Twitter, Koo is a micro-blogging platform. That is where the similarity ends. Koo has created deeply immersive language experiences, and today we are the largest Hindi micro-blogging platform in the world. At the same time, we are nowhere close to the true potential that India represents - a market that will have over 900 million internet users in the next few years. This points to the opportunity for Koo.
I think that Koo will have an audience that will have a very small overlap with Twitter in the initial few years. After this period is when many Twitter users will start using Koo to reach out to the broader India.
Let’s talk about verified accounts in comparison with Twitter.
Koo indicates that a profile is verified through a 'yellow tick' against a user's name, which we call 'Eminence'. A yellow tick on Koo recognizes and celebrates a user's eminence, stature, achievements, abilities, and professional standing in life. We have one of the most comprehensive criteria for recognizing a person's Eminence when compared to other social media platforms. Koo currently has about 4,500 verified accounts.
Privacy and data security are among the biggest concerns today. How does Koo address these? How safe is the user data on Koo?
Koo is a public social media platform and users are free to share whatever they are comfortable sharing with everyone. However, information like phone numbers or email IDs remains strictly private and are not accessible to anybody.
It has been more than a year since Koo started its operations. How has the app grown so far?
Catering to Indians and India's language diversity is an after-thought for most global players. Whereas for us, we've kept this as the dominant inspiration while building Koo. On the user front, we have gone from a few thousand users to over 15 million users, and are well on track to attain a user base of 100 million in the next year's time. Koo is one of the most powerful platforms with some of the most prominent faces of the country using the platform every day.
What are your plans for the Koo app in the future?
Our goal is to enable India to express itself freely. Over 75 percent of the global population speaks a language other than English, which means our solution is not just relevant to India but to a large part of the world, as well. Koo will be one of the few digital products built from India, for the world.