The social media market in 2022 can at best be described as chaotic. Meta continuously failed to kickstart the metaverse revolution. Politicians pounded TikTok over its links to Beijing. And that’s aside from the fallout of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, a global recession, plummeting user numbers and supply chain woes wreaking havoc on the tech industry in general.
Elon Musk’s acquisition of social media juggernaut Twitter is one of the clearest examples of the turmoil facing the industry. Market watchers, human rights activists and common pundits have raise concerns about the deal in the months since the Tesla CEO trotted into the Twitter HQ clutching a sink, market watchers. He subsequently fired more than half of the company’s employees.
Before the deal Twitter had roughly 7,500 employees. It had 1,300 at the beginning of this year.
Despite these setbacks, social media companies successfully raised hundreds of millions across several funding deals in 2022.
The landscape for venture financing deals is less dramatic than this, with the largest investments going to social media platforms, particularly those involved in video content and short-form video production. Q2 saw most deals, with five of the top ten taking place in the quarter.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) for advanced algorithm designs also took centre stage, with companies increasingly utilising the every-growing ability of AI to understand user needs and behaviours. Read on for an in-depth look at the top 10 venture financing deals of 2022.
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ShareChat bagged USD 255 million in series H funding
ShareChat secured the largest investment of 2022 when it topped up its coffers with an additional $255m in a new funding round last June. Investment came from Google’s parent company Alphabet, as well as Internet and mobile services company Times Internet and investment company Temasek.
ShareChat is India’s largest homegrown social media company. Its app has over 180 million monthly users. Combined with its short video platforms Moj and TakaTak, this number more than doubles to over 400 million.
The funding took the company’s valuation to $5bn. That’s up from the $3.7bn valuation it achieved in December 2021.
ShareChatsaid it would use to the to capitalise on its scale and build robust revenue models, with an aim to double its revenue run-rate.
Triller secures $200m in venture funding
Music video sharing app Triller secured the second largest deal in its August. It raised $200m in investments from Falcon Capital, ClearVue Partners and Fubon Financial, bringing its valuation to $3bn. However, that was still a significant drop from its $5bn valuation from early 2022, the result of a planned merger that ultimately fell through due to market volatility.
Triller is a US-based short-form video content app that allows users to create and share short videos onto its social network platform. It claims to differentiate itself from rival apps such as TikTok principally through its AI-driven video editing software. Although in 2020 Triller sued TikTok for patent infringement relating to the systems and methods used for synchronising videos with audio.
Triller plan to use the funding for further growth and expansion.
Spotter netted $200m in series D venture funding
Spotter raised $200m in a Series D round at a valuation of $1.7bn. Investment was led by Japanese venture capital and private equity firm SoftBank Vision Fund II, with participation from five other investors.
The US startup provides financial solutions to digital content creators. The money raised will contribute to a $1bn investment into YouTubers’ back catalogues, a plan that essentially involves paying YouTubers’ large cash sums upfront in exchange for the future ad revenue brought in by their back catalogues of past content.
The contract length for this exchange would be five years, allowing Spotter to license huge amounts of built-up content. It uses algorithms to determine who to invest in by analysing a channel’s metrics.
OpenWeb announced $170m in series F financing
Social communications company OpenWeb secured $170m in funding from Canadian fintech firm Georgian Partners Growth LP. OpenWeb achieved a $1.5bn valuation on the back of the raise.
OpenWeb is a digital platform specialising in communication, relationship building, digital sharing, content distribution and online communities. It aims to create trusted spaces for “quality conversations”, allowing people to discuss topics, share opinions and converse in a safe space.
According to a press release, its mission is to “save online conversations” by providing an alternative to the “crisis of toxicity” present on traditional social media platforms.
It will use the funds to continue company expansion and grow its number of monthly users, which currently stands at over 100 million.
Genies secures $150m in Series C funding
Avatar technology company Genies raised $150m in Series C funding in April, pushing its valuation past the $1bn mark. US venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners led the investment with participation from three others.
Genies is a digital technology company that builds avatars for people and businesses. It focuses on adapting “avatar ecosystems” – digital areas consisting of avatars, fashion, spaces and venues, and social experiences – that allow users to own their “own mini world” and explore virtual social environments in which they can “manifest ideas and experiences”.
The company plans to use its funding to expand its user base and capitalise on momentum behind NFT profile pic collections to eventually build a network of NFT-based avatar identity products.
Loop Now Technologies (Firework) secures $150m in Series B funding
Last May, Loop Now Technologies, the company behind short-form video platform Firework, secured $150m in funding again from Softbank Vision Fund II.
Firework is a social networking video platform aiming to disrupt the current landscape of online shopping formats, typified by companies such as Amazon and Facebook, by allowing users to create, upload and share interactive live stream shopping content.
Companies and brand ambassadors can simultaneously engage shoppers and promote products from clothing to bedding to food by livestreaming reviews or demos while providing active links to purchase sites.
Loop Now Technologies plans to use the investment to accelerate its growth across a variety of metrics..
Project 1972 raised $100m in Series B venture funding
Project 1972’s private social network Chief raised $100m in a Series B funding round. US financial service company CapitalG Management led the raise. Alphabet and eight other investors backed the deal too. The company’s valuation after the deal stands at $1.1bn.
Chief is a private online network designed to help professional women ascend to the top ranks of the corporate ladder and remain there. Imagine a women-only LinkedIn and you get the picture.
CEO Carolyn Childers said in a statement that “women have always been powerful, and our goal is to magnify and cross-pollinate that influence to women executives have a global network to support them”.
Chief’s membership currently includes over 12,000 of the most senior female executives in the US, and it plans to grow this further by investing the funds raised in improving its platform and member experience.
Mohalla Tech bolstered Series H round with another $78m
Mohalla Tech’s ShareChat secured another large deal as part of its Q2 Series H funding round from four investors including Google, raising a further $78m at a valuation of $4.9bn, which had increased to $5bn by the end of the funding round.
ShareChat plans to use the investment to continue growth and build up its revenue models.
FRVR bagged $76m venture funding deal
Hiro Capital led Maltese gaming company FRVR’s $76m raise early last year. Existing investors Accel and Makers Fund also contributed to the raise.
FRVR is an online games developer designing games for both chat and post-app store platforms. It is building an ecosystem to connect billions of players to captivating games to provide a new level of social networking within its platforms.
According to an announcement, it plans to use the funds to invest in content for its games platforms, bringing a whole new level of content to its channels in and beyond the app store. It will also secure more “high quality” titles.
Lightning Labs secured $70m in Series B funding
US blockchain company Lightning Labs secured $70m in Series B funding from investment led by Valor Equity Partners. Eleven other investors also participated in the raise.
Lightning Labs claims to be leveraging blockchain-powered smart contracts to make cheap, fast and private transactions. It powers the Lightning Network, an online platform looking to elevate bitcoin’s per-second handling of transactions with its new “layer-2 solution”, potentially making it a competitor to the likes of Visa.
Its other products, such as Pool, connects users who need access to bitcoin liquidity to those who have capital, creating an online social marketplace.
It plans to use the funds to support a protocol it has built called Taro, which would allow the transferring of stablecoins on bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
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