VerSe Innovation, the parent company of India-based vernacular news aggregator Dailyhunt and short video app Josh has raised US$28 million in its Series I round led by CPP (The Canadian Pension Plan) Investment Board.
“We never ran a formal process, it was just that there was a strong inbound interest from investors. Even the last finding we did was oversubscribed. We were evaluating our needs for capital and this is the culmination of that process,” said Umang Bedi, co-founder, VerSe Innovations.
The latest funding round is the extension of the US$450 million Series I funding raised by VerSe Innovation in August 2021 from investors including Gifford, Siguler Guff, affiliates of Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II among others. Existing investors QIA, Sofina Group, and BCap had also participated in the round.
According to the company, it will focus on growing into the Indian market over the next 12 months and post that it will foray into international markets like Southeast Asia
VerSe Innovation will be using the funding to strengthen its position as the fastest-growing local language AI-driven content platform in India. It plans to deepen and broaden its AI/ML and data science capabilities to further broaden its position across all user, engagement & retention metrics, drive further on monetization including e-commerce and Live Streaming and further strengthen its clear market leadership across its local language creator base of more than 50 million creators as well as its local language content ecosystem which experiences more than 80 billion videos plays per month.
About VerSe Innovation
VerSe Innovation was founded by Umang Bedi and Virendra Gupta in 2007 as a local language technology company that develops a discovery platform to consume and socialize with media.
The company had more than doubled its valuation from December 2020 when it gained unicorn status, with fundraise of over US$100 million from Google and others.
The firm has recently bought Indian social networking app GolBol and has onboarded its entire team. This was VerSe Innovation’s third acquisition in 2021.
VerSe also bought Cognirel Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to improve its AI capabilities and video-sharing app Vebber to scale creator offerings on Josh. J
osh has more than 115 million monthly active users while Dailyhunt serves more than 300 million users per month offering content artifacts each day in 14 languages from a licensed creator ecosystem of more than 100,000 content partners and individual content creators.