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Will double headcount; lot of headroom for growing user base: Koo


PTI, May 9, 2021, 11:51 AM IST

New Delhi:  Homegrown microblogging platform Koo is planning to double its headcount in the next one year as it significantly scales up its user base on the platform, especially vernacular subscribers, its co-founder said.

Speaking to PTI, Koo co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna said the platform with its current user base of 6 million has a lot of headroom for growth.

“When folks join Koo, they bring their followers as well, we don’t have too many Bollywood folks yet, we don’t have too many cricketers yet. There are lots of politicians, writers…who will find their unique reasons to be on Koo because we are enabling local languages,” he said.

Radhakrishna said Koo is growing exponentially as people are looking for ways to converse online in local languages with community members, and that the platform is helping people express themselves in their local language.

“We want to hit 100 million downloads in the next year or so. It is plausible, a 20X growth is very much possible, it depends on what all events lead to it. There are a lot of people who are yet to join Koo,” he said.

Koo, which was launched last year, has seen a massive surge in its user base over the past few months after Union ministers and government departments endorsed the homegrown microblogging platform following a spat with Twitter.

Koo has about 60 lakh users on its platform. Twitter, on the other hand, has 1.75 crore users in India.

India remains a critical market for Internet companies like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter with its large population base and burgeoning Internet adoption. The country is the world’s second-largest telecom market and the biggest consumer of data.

To keep pace with rapid growth in both users and usage, Koo is looking to at least double its headcount from about 75 professionals currently over the next 12 months, he added.

“We are aggressively hiring, especially for the engineering team because every idea, everything we want to do on product, boils down to engineering efforts. We want the best of engineers in India to work with us,” Radhakrishna added.

He said the company is recruiting talent across different capabilities including Android, iOS, machine learning, and quality assurance and testing among others.

The Twitter rival is also undertaking a slew of initiatives amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, to make it easier for people to find leads for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and other resources.

It will soon allow potential plasma donors to sport “badges” on their profile pictures for increased visibility, and a new feature is also in the offing that would notify users about vaccine availability.

Asked how Koo is cracking down on misinformation around COVID-19, Radhakrishna said the platform has a robust reporting system in place to deal with such content.

He added that users can flag content that they think is incorrect or inappropriate, and Koo deploys automated tools as well as a manual intervention to handle such content.

“Our job is to make sure that people talking about COVID and those looking for information around COVID can find each other. It is not our job to push down content to anyone, but giving options…helpful around the COVID period…Our goal is to get people who use Koo to access the right information,” he said.

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