Short video app Chingari looks to expand into new markets in 2023, ramp up hiring


Chingari co-founder and COO Deepak Salvi said the platform plans to hire 400-500 people worldwide.

Chingari, a short video platform, plans to expand into new global markets in 2023, including Latin America, Africa, and Europe. According to a company executive, the platform also plans to hire at least 400-500 people across its global offices, more than doubling its current headcount of approximately 250 people.

This comes at a time when peers Moj and Josh’s parent companies are struggling and have recently laid off employees. Moj’s parent company, Mohalla Tech, laid off about 115 people after closing its fantasy gaming vertical, whereas Josh’s parent company, VerSe Innovation, laid off 150 people and announced company-wide pay cuts for employees earning more than Rs 10 lakh per year.

Deepak Salvi, co-founder and COO of Chingari, told Moneycontrol that the platform will be hiring for positions in technical, content, and creative teams. For global markets and launches, the Chingari app has been modified to the local language of those regions, and the company will hire local on-the-ground staff in those regions, Salvi said.

In the past 6 to 9 months, Chingari has launched its apps in local languages in the UAE, Indonesia, Turkey, and parts of the US. It is currently scaling teams there and intends to launch promotional campaigns for the application.

“Though next year will be a little lull, we believe in continuing building products, irrespective of whether the market is up or not. So, next year from January onwards, we are focusing on emerging markets plus we are planning to launch in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Africa is the biggest emerging market right now,” Salvi said.

“Also we are trying to hire local people there, so we are targeting hiring more than 400-500 people for these other markets and plus the India market. We want to be a technology strong company, which has a Web 3 module and we want people to spend more time on the app and earn,” he added.

Salvi stated that the company is looking to raise funds for the expansion now that new features, plans, and apps are in place.

“We are looking to raise funds. But right now the revenue is coming. We are trying to sustain with that but we will be raising funds,” he said, without going into specifics.

Earlier this year, Chingari was reportedly in talks to raise approximately $200 million for its Series B round at a valuation of $1 billion, according to media reports. However, when asked, Salvi denied it.

According to Salvi, Chingari currently has 170 million downloads on the Play Store, 40 million monthly active users, and 5 million daily active users.

Monetisation struggles

In 2018, with the rise of TikTok’s popularity, indigenous short-video apps began to emerge in India. Chingari was an early adopter of this trend. Eventually, as a result of the ban on TikTok, new platforms began to emerge, including ShareChat’s Moj and DailyHunt’s Josh. The parent companies of these apps received quick funding and a growing user base.

When the funding winter hit the start-up market earlier this year, the monetisation models of these apps were in the early stages. While the majority of these apps used ad-based revenue, subscriptions, and content creator partnership models, Chingari experimented with crypto tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to explore newer models.

“We were the first people to go after TikTok. After that, there were multiple replicas of TikTok and there were multiple funds and other things. But the final thing is sustainability. There are a lot of such apps which are gone now. They had raised funds, but they are struggling with revenues. I’ve heard a few of them have started laying off people from the companies, but then at Chingari, we are just hiring people,” Salvi said.

The company claims to have multiple revenue models. It recently launched its NFT marketplace, Creator Cuts, where creators could convert their videos into NFTs and buyers of these NFTs could earn a 10 percent cut of the NFT’s daily income. Last year, Chingari also developed a Solana blockchain-based crypto token called Gari for use within its community.

Salvi added that Chingari is also experimenting with creating a partially ad-free platform while enabling different revenue-generating models for creators and users based on their app engagement levels and usage patterns.

“On Chingari when you start watching content and earning a few tokens as per your time spent, and then when you want to take out the tokens or monetize it you have to pay the subscription fees. That’s one of the revenue streams,” Salvi said.

For creators, the app is considering Udemy-style models in which creators create original paid content and users pay for it in Gari tokens. Chingari will receive a portion of the earnings as a commission.”Creators are also selling their NFTs. We are developing a multiple-skill set format for the future. For example, if a creator can play the guitar well, he can create a 10-episode guitar teaching class. And if a user wants to learn, he will pay, say, 100 Gari. And from that, about 60-70 percent Gari will go to the creator, and around 20-30 percent will come to us,” Salvi explained.

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