VerSe Innovation, the parent company of content provider platform Dailyhunt and short video app Josh, has raised over $450 million in a Series I funding round led by Siguler Guff, Baillie Gifford, Carlyle Asia Partners and others.
The Series I round included existing investors Sofina Group, Qatar Investment Authority and BCap which brought the company’s revenue estimates after doubling its valuation from its unicorn cycle.
Between December and February 2021 in the series Series H round it has raised a total of $200 Mn from Falcon Edge Capital, Alpha Wave Ventures, Glade Brook Capital Partners, Google and Microsoft.
The company said the recent investments will focus on strengthening market position through marketing and more, deepening and expanding the Dailyhunt and Josh’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science capabilities, as well as improving monetization including e-commerce and live streaming. It will also have an eye on expanding to overseas markets with the same appetite as India.
Founded in 2007 by Virendra Guptha, VerSe Innovation, a B2B company, catered to telcos and provides SMS alerts on jobs, property, matrimony, news and education subscribers across India and also across Bangladesh and Africa.
In 2011, the company decided to enter the B2C game when it acquired Eterno Infotech, founded by Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni. Eterno Infotech launched Content platform Newshunt in 2009, which was again rebranded in 2015 as DailyHunt.
According to a report by RedSeer Management Consulting, the country’s short video market is likely to witness a growth by 4x on the total time spent and reach (400-450) Bn minutes a month in the coming five years 2020-2025 from the current 110 Bn minutes.
The company says it has more than 50 Mn creators with more than 80 Bn videos playing per month. It also claims the short video app Josh has more than 115 Mn monthly active users and more than 56 Mn current day to day users, which means it has the best DAU/MAU ratio in the industry. With Dailyhunt, the company is said to operate more than 300 Mn users every month in 14 languages, featuring content from more than 100,000 content partners and individual content creators.
In March, VerSe acquired Vebbler, an interest-based photo and video sharing app. In 2013 Sahil Bhagat founded Vebbler, as a visual-first social network for meaningful conversation. DailyHunt said Vebbler’s cameras and creative tools would make Josh a powerful market differentiator.