After raising Rs 10 crore in seed funding last week from investors like Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Freshworks founder Girish Mathrabootham and Silicon Valley based venture capitalist firm Hourglass Venture, Chennai-based social media startup Pepul told Business Standard that it is looking to raise around Rs 200 crore by June this year for expansion.
The social media platform, focused on online ethical practices, will be launched by 1,000 entrepreneurs across the country on January 26.
Pepul, founded by G Suresh Kumar, will be using an Aadhaar-based user verification system to get rid of fake accounts on its platform.
"We are planning to raise around Rs 200 crore by June this year.
"We have already got an assurance for half of this from one of the existing investors," he said.
After the launch, the plan is to expand its footprint first in countries like India, the US and the UK.
"We believe in organic growth and are trying to rope in influencers in all these countries to market the platform," Kumar added.
It will be coming up with a monetization model for creators and small scale entrepreneurs by 2023.
Through Aadhaar-based verification, at least 90 per cent of its users will be having a verified account.
"We want to increase our base to 10 million users by January 2023. Our revenue model will be a targeted advertising model looking at an audience who require it," he said.
In October, superstar Rajinikanth's daughter Soundarya Vishagan too had launched a voice-based social media platform called Hoote.
Through Hoote, people will be able to post 60-second voice notes instead of texts.
The application comes from the company Hoote Global Technologies, which was incorporated in March 2021.
The directors of the company include Amtex Group chief executive officer Sainath Pokala, Soundarya and her husband Vishagan.
Photograph: Courtesy Pepul