‘Best measures against the new Covid variant’ was the topic of one session. Another was a kavi sammelan or a poetry meet. At micro-blogging platform Koo’s weekly online meet-ups—with a hundred or more participants, as per employees of the company—anything can be a point of discussion. Almost anything.

Except for one strict rule—“No discussions on politics or on religion,” according to an employee, and it runs counterintuitive to Koo’s fame. After all, the local language-focussed platform sprung sprung Reuters In spats with Twitter, India's government begins messaging shift to rival Koo Read more into the spotlight last year amid a public spat between the Indian government and Twitter.

Government ministers and senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started opening accounts on Koo en-masse, hailing hailing BBC Koo v Twitter: Why India's government is favouring a social media newcomer Read more it as a homegrown alt Twitter. Overnight, downloads of Koo jumped by factors of over 10X, an ex-employee of the company told The Ken. In a few months, Koo would raise would raise The Economic Times Koo’s valuation rises five times in three months in new funding round Read more $30 million in its Series B funding, pushing its valuation to $100 million.

And yet, it seems Koo wants to step away from its (lucrative) political image.

Stressing on its plurality, Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna* said, “Politics discussion is a small part of the overall platform. Talking about Koo in only an election context positions it as an only politics platform which is not the only thing it is.”

“We’re a platform which allows for free expression in local languages on various topics across sports, poetry, literature, entertainment, comedy and many others,” he added, choosing to not respond to a detailed set of questions sent by The Ken.

And yes, the local language focus is indeed “intrinsic to the DNA of the app”, as a former Koo employee said. Launched in early-2020, Koo follows the success of Vokal, a local-language-first, Quora-like Quora-like Quora Quora is a US-based social question-and-answer website, where participants can ask questions on a variety of topics, as well as answer questions posed by strangers. platform built by the same team.

But Koo’s 20 million downloads as of end-2021—and its targetted 100 million, as per as per Financial Express We want to be the largest opinion platform without an opinion of our own: Koo Read more Radhakrishna—don’t come from just having a local language focus.

AUTHOR

Soumyajit Saha

Soumyajit covers the operations of Big Tech companies and OTTs in India. Before The Ken, he covered equity and currency markets in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand for Reuters. You can hit him up via email about anything, except money he allegedly owes you.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.