VerSe Innovation, the parent company of popular news and entertainment app Dailyhunt and short video app Josh, announced Monday that it had received over $ 100 million in a Series H funding round from Qatar Investment Authority and Glade Brook Capital Partners has collected.
The announcement follows another investment of over $ 100 million that the startup secured from Google, AlphaWave and Microsoft in December last year. That investment, also part of the H series, had turned Dailyhunt into a unicorn (valued at $ 1 billion or more). The startup has raised around $ 430 million to date.
Jointly operated by Virendra Gupta and former Facebook India boss Umang Bedi, Dailyhunt is a popular news and entertainment app that serves more than 285 million users in 14 national languages in India every day. Its reach in India, the world’s second largest internet market, would explain why Twitter partnered with the Indian firm last month to bring Moments to Dailyhunt.
VerSe Innovation expanded to short form videos with Josh last year after New Delhi banned TikTok and created a theoretical gap for content snacking in the country. Numerous big giants and startups – including MX Player and ShareChat – have tried their hand at short videos over the past few quarters.
Facebook launched Instagram Reels in India last year, and YouTube launched Shorts, which is already generating over 3.5 billion views per day in India, it said last month. (With over 450 million users in India, YouTube is approaching WhatsApp’s leader in India.)
Josh appears to have emerged as one of the leading players: the startup says Josh has amassed over 85 million active users per month – 40 million of whom review the app every day – and the app watches over 1.5 billion video games every day.
India’s internet economy is expected to be worth $ 639 billion by 2030, Citi analysts wrote in a report to customers late last month. The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digital adoption and user appetite for online transactions, according to a report by analysts at UBS last week.
“Josh is a confluence of India’s 200+ best creators, 10 largest music labels, 15+ million UGC creators, the best content creation tools, the hottest entertainment formats, and impressive user demographics. Josh has been consistently rated as the leading Indian short video app in India on the Play Store, ”the startup said in a statement.
The startup announced that it would use the fresh capital to expand the content offering for local languages and expand the developer ecosystem as well as the AI and ML tech stacks.