At a time when a number of startups are finding it difficult to raise capital, VerSe Innovation, the parent firm of news aggregator app Dailyhunt and short-video app Josh, said on Wednesday it has raised $805 million.
The startup, which plans to expand its family of consumer apps and is looking for opportunities for its creator base and users with web3, is valued at nearly $5 billion in the new round, its co-founders told TC in an interview.
The round — a Series J — was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), its largest investment to date in the region. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), Luxor Capital, and Sumeru Ventures as well as existing backers Sofina Group and Baillie Gifford also participated in the round.
The new round brings VerSe Innovation’s all-time raise to about $2 billion (some in secondary transactions).
VerSe Innovation currently operates three popular apps that have made deep inroads in smaller Indian cities and towns. Its short video app Josh has amassed over 150 million users and has a creator base of over 50 million users. It clocks over 80 billion plays each month, the startup said.
News aggregator app Dailyhunt, which operates in 15 languages and has a creator ecosystem of over 100,000 content partners, has over 350 million users, whereas the startup’s recently launched app PublicVibe now serves over 5 million monthly active users.
The startup plans to continue to focus on service users in India, and deploy the new investments to broaden its AI and ML capabilities to make its apps more engaging to users, Umang Bedi, co-founder of VerSe Innovation, told TC in an interview.
“India’s digital content is experiencing phenomenal growth, and VerSe Innovation is well positioned to be one of the leaders in the fast-growing short video and local language content space,” said Frank Su, Managing Director and Head of Private Equity Asia at CPP Investments, in a statement.
“This investment aligns with our approach of providing strategic capital to industry leaders in India’s technology sector. We look forward to supporting the next phase of VerSe Innovation’s growth journey, which we believe will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for the CPP Fund.”
This is a developing story. A lot more to follow…