A significant chunk of the capital will be used to fuel the firm’s international expansion as it looks to tap into the unmet content needs of local language audiences globally.
VerSe Innovation, which operates Dailyhunt and short video platform Josh, has raised over $450 million in fresh funding led by Siguler Guff, Baillie Gifford and Carlyle Asia Partners. The company’s valuation has more than doubled to nearly $3 billion post the fund-raise, sources said.
The investment, which is part of the tech firm’s series I financial round, also saw participation from existing investors Sofina Group, Qatar Investment Authority and BCap. The funding comes merely six months after the company closed a more than $200-million financial round backed by Qatar Investment Authority, Google and Microsoft, among others. The investment, which was raised in tranches through December 2020 and February, made it a unicorn with a valuation of over $1 billion. VerSe Innovation has scored over $650 million from investors in the first half of the year alone, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
A significant chunk of the capital will be used to fuel the firm’s international expansion as it looks to tap into the unmet content needs of local language audiences globally. Short-video app Josh has already garnered more than 115 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India while Dailyhunt, which offers content in 14 local languages helped by its broad network of content creators, caters to over 300 million users every month. The platform has over 100,000 content partners and individual content creators. Besides, funds will also be allocated to support innovation and build on its tech capabilities.
“Herein, VerSe plans on both deepening and broadening its AI/ML (artificial intelligence/ machine learning) and data science capabilities to further widen its leadership position across all user, engagement & retention metrics, drive further on monetisation, including e-commerce and live streaming, and further cement its clear market leadership across its local language creator base of over 50 million creators as well as its local language content ecosystem which experiences over 80 billion video plays per month,” the company said in a statement.
According to a study released by consulting firm RedSeer in April, Josh commands a strong following in tier two cities covering the Hindi-belt of India. The app’s growth is also driven by the satisfaction of its influencers in the age bracket of 18-35, they said.
Rival Moj’s parent Mohalla Tech had late last month raised $145 million in funding led by Temasek and Moore Strategic Ventures at a valuation of $2.88 billion.