Koo: Microblogging Social Networking Platform Expands Visibility Across Nigeria

TECHDIGEST – Founded in March 2020, the Indian-based microblogging platform, Koo, was designed for thoughts and opinion sharing via a variety of Indian native languages.

Now spreading its wings beyond India, the platform, which was initially regarded as a rival to Twitter in India, seeks to leverage the opportunity of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, filling the gap left by the social networking platform but now with a unique twist.

In a bid to expand into Africa, Nigeria is the first African country where the app has been launched, starting with six languages, including Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa. There are already close to 200,000 users who have downloaded the app in the country.

The platform seeks to become an international social media platform with a variety of languages.

The goal is to bridge the limitations on platforms where English is the only language made available for communication. The fact that not everyone who wants to be on these microblogging platforms understands the English language is a plus for this new entry.

In a virtual session with Aprameya Radhakrishna, co-founder and CEO at Koo, it was made clear that the customisation of the product is in such a way that users can easily find others who speak a similar language as theirs. It would entail communities for the same language, where users can freely interact with one another and express themselves.

A question that would pop up in the minds of many is: why Nigeria? Is it just about the Twitter ban?

Here are the answers;

In the words of Aprameya: “The essence for Koo in Nigeria is the similarity between Nigeria and India. The goal is to enhance nation-building.” He said. Adding to that, Nigeria has one of the highest internet users.

Still on the essence, Sameer Yeshwanth of Koo emphasised that Nigeria, being the giant of Africa, has to be the country to start from in Africa.

So far, the 15 months old startup has raised $34 million in seed rounds, from investors including Dream Incubator, Mirae Asset Capital, 3one4 Capital, among others. The most recent round being in May 2021.

The platform seeks to leverage the funds in expanding the team, bringing in engineers that will help develop the product to excellence. It was noted by Aprameya and Sameer that Nigerians studying engineering in India have already been involved in the project.

Speaking on registration of the startup in Nigeria, Aprameya reiterated that respecting a country’s ways of doing business and adhering to the laid down rules is a priority to them. Hence, the registration and all that must be done will be adhered to.

“It’s better to do things slowly but well and in the soonest possible time, the success will be seen.” He stated.”

In a concluding statement, Aprameya spoke on content moderation for users. Unpleasant words and graphics will be taken down.

“We’d try not to make mistakes already made by other social media platforms.” Said Aprameya.

Just like Twitter, the app gives a yellow tick when a user is verified. According to Aprameya, the tick called ‘Eminence’ recognises and celebrates a user’s eminence, stature, achievements, abilities and professional standing. It is a recognition that the user is a significant representative of the voices of a country’s indigenous.

It also allows the use of hashtags, “@”, used for mentioning or responding to other users and the use of voice assistants.

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