VerSe innovation had launched Josh in September last year even as a clutch of other similar apps including MX TakaTak, Moj, Mitron, Trell, and Chingari had sprouted post TikTok ban to plug the market gap.
Content aggregator app Dailyhunt’s parent company VerSe Innovation has secured over $100 million for its short video app Josh less than two months after it raised more than $100 million from Google, Microsoft, and AlphaWave. The latest Series H round was led by global investors including Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, which had earlier backed Flipkart and Byju’s, and Glade Brook Capital Partners. Canaan Valley Capital and existing investor Sofina Group also contributed to the round. The latest valuation of the company couldn’t be ascertained, however, the December round had valued Verse Innovations at more than $1 billion. The company had launched Josh in September last year even as a clutch of other similar apps including MX TakaTak, Moj, Mitron, Trell, and Chingari had sprouted post TikTok ban to plug the market gap. As of February 9, 2021, Josh was ranked ninth among the top free social apps on Android in India, according to the data from SensorTower, while MX TakaTak and Moj were the top two apps.
VerSe will deploy the capital for steadily growing the Josh app that is currently available in 12 Indian languages, the company said in a statement. This will include “the augmentation of local language content offerings, the development of its content creator ecosystem, innovation in AI and ML and more importantly, creation of opportunity for India’s vast talent pool.” The company claimed over 200 content creators, 10 music labels, over 15 million user-generated-content creators on the app. Josh has “over 85 million monthly active users, 40 million daily active users, and 1.5+ billion video plays per day,” the company added.
The short-form video apps had witnessed a decline in monthly time spent by users to just 37 billion minutes in July 2020. However, it bottomed out and scaled back to 95 billion minutes till early December, according to a recent RedSeer report. TikTok, which had a share of 85-90 per cent of total monthly time spent by Indians on short-form apps in June 2020 had lost around 40 per cent share to Indian apps in October 2020. Consequently, 4-6 per cent share of around 165 billion minutes (275 hours) spent by viewers on Indian short-form apps in June 2020 had increased to around 67 per cent – approximately 55 billion minutes (91 hours) in October.