Dailyhunt’s parent VerSe is on a funding streak. Barely one-and-a-half months after completing a USD 100 million-plus funding round from AlphaWave, Google, and Microsoft, at a valuation of over USD 1 billion, the holding company of the local language news aggregator app has raised another USD 100 million in a Series H funding round.
The latest round was led by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and Glade Brook Capital Partners. Canaan Valley Capital and existing investor Sofina Group also participated in the round, local media Economic Times (ET) reported.
Other backers of Dailyhunt include Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge Capital, ByteDance, and Goldman Sachs, among others.
VerSe plans to pump in the funds into its short video platform Josh, which it had officially launched in September after running it for 45 days in stealth mode. The aim is to bring more local language content on the platform, enhance AI and ML capabilities, and develop tools for content creators.
Josh, which is available in 12 local languages and had reached 23 million daily active users when it was officially unveiled, aims to lead the market left open by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s unceremonious exit from India last year. The Bengaluru-based short video app reportedly has more than 85 million monthly active users, 40 million daily active users who play more than 1.5 billion video per day at present. Josh has over 200 top creators on its platform, 15 million users who generate content, and over 10 partnerships with music labels.
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It is to be noted that this round makes six-month-old Josh one of the most cash-rich short video apps in the country. It has emerged as one of the fastest-growing short video apps that competes with Roposo, Mitron, Chingari, Trell, Bolo Indya, Sharechat’s Moj, MX Takatak, Instagram’s Reels, among others.
According to a recent RedSeer report, the Indian platforms have captured a 40% market share of TikTok, which had about 167 million users in June 2020. The report named Josh as the one leading the race and gave it the highest score on personalization, creator satisfaction, and user experience.
After dominating digital news aggregator space, VerSe is putting all its weight behind the short video segment. RedSeer said 275 million Indians use short video apps which would grow up to 580 million users in the next five years.
VerSe started its journey as a value-added service company working with telecoms, in 2007 and pivoted to become a B2C firm when it acquired Newshunt, a news aggregator app built by former Nokia employees Chandrashekhar Sohoni and Umesh Kulkarni, in 2012. Three years later, it rebranded itself as Dailyhunt as it emerged as one of the world’s leading news app with three billion page views.
The company now claims to have 300 million users on its flagship news aggregation platform Dailyhunt, which supports 14 languages, has over 1,300 publication partners, and features 250,000 news and content pieces every day.
VerSe is reportedly aiming to create a family of apps under Dailyhunt in a bid to become India’s leading digital media business enabling users to discover, consume, and socialize with informative and entertaining content. In fact, when India banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps, Ver Se didn’t waste any time and jumped into the fray by rolling out Josh just a week later.
“This solid business foundation and capital infusion now sets the company on a path of rapid growth, as it explores building a family of apps and expanding across other international geographies to extend its broad-based tech platforms in serving similar unmet content needs of local language audiences globally,” the company said in a press note.