Started as a social media and social networking service with Sharechat, Mohalla Tech expanded into a short form video app by launching Moj back in 2020. With a valuation of $3.7 billion in December 2021 along with a strategic merger of Moj and MX TakaTak, the company expects to be profitable in the next 16-18 months. In conversation with BrandWagon Online, Ankush Sachdeva, chief executive officer and co-founder of ShareChat and Moj, talks about the creator economy and the company’s plan for social ecommerce. (Edited Excerpts)
How do you see the creator economy evolving?
When it comes to creator economy, we ask ourselves how do we enable our creators to build a livelihood on the platform while doing what they’ve been doing. In this, we see three large areas. One is influencer marketing – where brands can use our creators to leverage their fan following and to help them narrate a better story to their audience. Second is virtual gifting space. Virtual gifting will be very big in India and we are already seeing signs of that on Sharechat where we launched virtual gifting in January of last year. We have already clocked over 50 million of annualised gifting on Sharechat. And third for me is live ecommerce. We can use the power of an influencer to sell physical goods to the audience. These are the three ways we look at the creator economy.
What are the new brands and categories that have picked up on this?
We have a wide variety of categories and brands advertising on our platform. Beyond traditional FMCG brands to ecommerce companies, we saw an upsurge of gaming companies since the pandemic. We also see a lot of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) companies also now trying on the platform and we are now actively trying to get SMB companies as well. For the first two years, we were very focussed on getting the large clients with national presence but we’re now looking at smaller brands with local/hyperlocal focus.
Which areas or regions do you believe are untapped and you would like to make inroads into this fiscal?
We launched Moj with 15 languages on day one. So, we understand that India is very diverse. Hindi remains one of our largest markets in terms of views but we see equal opportunity from Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada states. We have made a conscious effort into mapping these markets’ demand and supply side. What we have realised is that Hindi speaking short video content creators are far more matured as opposed to regional creators. Therefore the onus of building that maturity lies on us and we will have to invest a lot in creators who are trying to become influencers and encourage people who could be great creators in the future and we are doing that by giving them incentives, getting them on the platform with the right audience and helping them grow. If we see a promising creator, we actively go out and give them the best camera smartphone because we believe that they should not suffer because of the quality of content. We also help them collaborate with existing large creators in their categories.
What are your initiatives to help creators grow?
Creators are at the heart of our engine. We have a program called Moj for Creators and our aim is to help creators earn $450 million over the next three years. That’s on the monetisation part. Moj for Creators is not simply about making money, it’s also about creating tutorial courses for those who want to be creators. From how do you hold a camera, to acquiring the license and getting the insights on creating an engaging content which can lead to full watch. Moj for Creators is a large umbrella term that we have for grooming creators, finding them and to help them monetise beyond just one platform.
What is the monthly active users you have on your platform currently?
So our monthly active users (MAU) on Sharechat is 180 million, on Moj we have more than 160 million and with TakaTak merging, we expect it to be anywhere between 200-300 million.
You have recently rolled out social ecommerce on your platform. By when do you see it playing a big role in your revenue model?
We rolled out social ecommerce a month back hence currently 60% of our revenue comes from advertisements and the remaining 40% is accounted for by virtual gifting. Currently, we are in the testing phase where we are trying out with influencers and which format of selling works. Next two years are going to be a ramp up phase of our video commerce. By the end of this year, we will see a significant portion of our revenue coming from this space.