News app Dailyhunt and short-video app Josh parent VerSe Innovation on Wednesday announced the acquisition of community-focused photo and video sharing app Vebbler for an undisclosed value. The Bengaluru-based start-up expects this acquisition to help build stronger linkages with its customer base and create a strong differentiator for Josh. It had earlier acquired AI start-up Cogrinel technologies.
Wednesday’s move is the latest by the unicorn to build the largest digital media platform that serves the unmet content needs of millions of consumers using technology.
Virendra Gupta, founder, VerSe Innovation, said in a statement, “The combination of Vebbler’s product capabilities with our platform will improve our ability to drive innovation around the camera and social engagement and play a more meaningful role in capturing the mindshare, timeshare, and revenue share of Bharat’s local language users.” Co-founder Umang Bedi said that the company would continue to build and acquire powerful tools and technologies that deliver consumer-focused and content-forward products.
Founded by Sahil Bhagat in 2013, Vebbler lets users join groups (‘clubs’) and share photos and videos on a variety of topics, whether it is fashion, travel, photography, or entertainment. With over a hundred categories, Vebbler’s camera allows users to create content and edit and modify it with creation tools such as AI-based neural-art filters, effects, stickers, GIFs, drawing tools, and fonts along with proprietary technology on video processing and editing. Originating as a private way to share videos and photos with friends in real-time, Vebbler was modified into an interest-based network in 2018.
Regarding the acquisition, Bhagat said, “My vision with Vebbler was to build a video first social media platform out of India. Our use case, domain understanding, technology expertise are unique in the Indian market. In VerSe Innovation’s vision, we find strategic synergies between Josh and Vebbler. This deal speaks volumes to the value and quality of our product.” The combination of Josh and Vebbler’s camera and community will morph the short-video app into a powerful differentiator in the market and present millions of Josh users the additional opportunity to harness India’s diverse creativity and talent.
Vebbler was backed initially by actors Dino Morea and Nikhil Chinnappa, People Group CEO Anupam Mittal, former Mu Sigma chief executive Ambiga Subramanian, and iSPIRT co-founder Sharad Sharma.
VerSe became a unicorn recently, and counts among its portfolio marquee investors such as Google, Microsoft, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA – the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar), and Alpha Wave Incubation, to name a few. In the last three months, it has raised over $200 million from its investors.
Josh, launched in September 2020 to fill the void left by the ban of Chinese app TikTok, currently has over 85 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), 40 million DAUs (Daily Active Users), and more than 1.5 billion video plays per day.