VerSe Innovation, the company that operates regional language news aggregator Dailyhunt and Josh, saw its losses skyrocket to Rs 2,563 crore in FY22 from Rs 808 crore in FY21 on the back of promotional costs and employee benefit expenses, the regulatory filings showed.
VerSe Innovation’s operating revenue, however, jumped 45% to Rs 965 crore from Rs 666 crore in FY21. The group saw most of its revenue come from ads it ran on the app & website and from the subscription its customers bought.
But, an increase in overall costs offset the unicorn’s growth in revenue. VerSe Innovation’s total expenses increased 135% to Rs 3,714 crore in FY22 from Rs 1,580 crore in FY21. It spent the most on the company’s promotion expenses, which spiked 2x to Rs 2,693 crore in FY22 from Rs 1,281 crore in FY21. Further, employee benefits expense, the next largest chunk, also surged 3.8x to Rs 731 crore in FY22, including the Rs 375 crore on account of employee stock options (ESOPs).
The Google-backed company turned a unicorn when it raised $227 million from Microsoft, Sequoia, Matrix Partners India, Qatar Investment Authority and others during the pandemic November 2020. During the period, people were restricted indoors because of the lockdown and hence the consumption of short videos and other forms of entertainment increased. The company has so far raised over $1.8 billion and is valued at about $4.21 billion. It competes with ShareChat’s Moj, Instagram’s reels, MX TakaTak and YouTube Shorts, among others.