I am betting on Elon Musk, not Twitter: Indian American investor Sanjit Singh Dang

Ritu Jha-

“I am not betting on Twitter but on Musk,” says Indian American venture capitalist Sanjit Singh Dang, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who recently invested in the California-headquartered microblogging platform.

Dang and his wife Ekta, are co-founders of U First Capital, a California-based VC firm. Both are long-time Musk supporters and have raised and invested over a million dollars in Twitter.

“Elon Musk allowed outsider investors to come, and because of that we got a chance to invest,” Dang told indica in an interview. “We raised a few million and we hope it will do well.”

Dang says Musk is a “very focused man”, explaining how he has met the Tesla and Twitter CEO in group settings. “We are with SpaceX. We know his style of working and things that drive him.”

In October 2022, Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, The microblogging platform, founded in 2006, used to allow users to share posts not more than 140 characters, a limit that was later raised to 280. Musk, though, wants to increase it to 4000, marking a significant change in the fundamental nature of the site.

Twitter says it currently has 450 million monthly active users, but is still behind other popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

When Musk took over, he fired over 300, ie. almost 90 percent of employees in India. Overall, he decided to fire almost half the company staff.

Sources say he has fired a lot more than reported and he is bringing his Tesla team and changing Twitter rapidly.

According to https://www.businessofapps.com/ Twitter is experimenting with new formats for tweets, such as donations and currency for tweets. Before Musk took over, Twitter had launched Spaces, a clone of Clubhouse’s live-audio platform, although Twitter has a poor track record for
supporting anything outside the base platform.

Dang says, “We are in America, where the economy is in transition. You don’t just look at the number of jobs, but also at the types of jobs. We see worker-class jobs eroding and geek jobs getting prominence. It would be difficult to bring them back into the workforce.”

Dang says that he is convinced tech is taking away some of jobs. “The security of well-paid jobs is being disrupted,” he says.

About Twitter’s engagement with India, Dang says the company will always be on good terms with its users, but is concerned about the number of fake accounts. “He (Musk) is building the tech to track fake accounts,” Dang says. “He will continue to let Indian government and celebrities use Twitter, but they [Twitter] will not allow fake accounts. Twitter has been a powerful tool for the Indian government and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi likes Twitter.”

Twitter data suggests that, among the world’s political leaders, Modi has the most number of followers, followed by US President Joe Biden and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Moreover, India (24.45 million) is ranked three in the number of active Twitter users after the US with 77.75 million and Japan with 58.2 million.

Dang says Musk believes the payment verification system will help Twitter in its battle against bots, or fake accounts, but not at the cost of free speech. When Musk took over, he had tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means.”

But Evelyn Douek, an assistant professor at Stanford Law whose research focuses on online speech, told time.com, “His proclamations about being a free speech platform would suggest standing up to authoritarians, who are the biggest threat to free speech. But he has also said he will obey local laws—which in many areas of the world, means being far more restrictive than Twitter’s current content
moderation rules.”

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