When the Indian government is having problems with the microblogging platform Twitter, another newly created Indian platform by the name “koo” is being the centre of attention of many people. This app is co-founded by entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka.
This app was launched in early 2020. However, it gained attention after it won the government’s Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge. Other than this app, India-made apps like Zoho and Chingari — the local version of TikTok, won the challenge. These apps were launched by the Centre as they banned Chinese apps. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned this app while sharing the outcome of the Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge.
Many influential people like Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Law & IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Members of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and Shobha Karandlaje, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Isha Foundation’s Jaggi Vasudev, former cricketers Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble have joined the app. Other than these individuals, government departments like the Union IT Ministry, India Post and the Niti Aayog have also created their account on the app.
One of its co-founder, Radhakrishna, had also founded online cab booking service TaxiForSure, which Ola Cabs bought. Koo’s parent company — Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd —is also operating the Indian version of Quora called Vokal. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised Series A funding in 2018 from investors including Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Accel Partners India. Former Infosys CFO TV Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital also announced to invest in Bombinate Technologies recently.
Government is trying to push Koo to the Indian audience. It is apparent from the fact that many ministers and government departments have made their presence on the app. Moreover, all is not well with the Indian government and Twitter so, it might be another reason why the Government wants people to shift to Koo.
When Twitter refused to take any action against some accounts, the Union IT Ministry wrote that Twitter is an intermediary and “they are obliged to obey the directions of the government. Refusal to do so will invite penal action”. The Government told the American giant that non-compliance with the government’s demands could also lead government to initiate action under Section 69A (3) of the IT Act. It could lead senior officials of the company in prison for up to seven years and a financial penalty.