VerSe Innovation, the parent firm of the popular news app Dailyhunt and short-video platform Josh, has announced that it has raised over $100 million in a Series H financing round from Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and Glade Brook Capital Partners. Other firms participating in the round included Caanan Valley Capital and existing investor Sofina Group. The company says that it will now use these funds to expand its short video app Josh.
This comes after VerSe had secured an investment of over $100 million from Google, AlphaWave, and Microsoft in December 2020. The investment had resulted in Dailyhunt’s valuation rise to more than $1 billion. The investors of Dailyhunt include Lupa Systems, Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge Capital, and Omidyar Network.
Dailyhunt has a user base of more than 285 million daily in 14 local languages, and aggregates content from newspapers and websites in multiple Indian regional languages, including Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Bhojpuri, as well as video content in Hindi and Telugu. It also provides free live TV streaming in multiple regional languages. VerSe claims that it derives its sources from a licensed creator ecosystem of over 100,000 content partners and individual content creators. This is also a big reason why when Twitter decided to bring ‘Moments’ to India, it sough the help of Dailyhunt to expand to a larger user base.
Josh, the most recent product from the company and a TikTok lookalike, claims to have amassed over 85 million monthly active users, with more than 1.5 billion videos played on the app daily. It was launched in India in 2020 after the government had banned TikTok in the country.
VerSe has revealed plans to use the funds to scale up and expand Josh, strengthening its local language content offerings, developing its content creator ecosystem, and investing in AI and machine learning.
“Josh represents a confluence of India’s top 200+ best creators, the 10 biggest music labels, 15+ million UGC creators, best in class content creation tools, the hottest entertainment formats, and formidable user demographics. Josh has been consistently rated as the leading Indian short-video app in India on the Play store,” VerSe said in a statement.
The Indian startup announced plans for building a family of apps focused on Bharat and expanding its own offerings into other countries.