Verse Innovation, the parent company of Dailyhunt, has raised more than $100 million in funding from the Alpha Wave Incubation of Google, Microsoft and Falcon Edge at a value of more than $1 billion, making it the first tech unicorn based on local languages in India.
Present donors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems were also interested in the fundraising project.
The company aims to use the new capital to scale up its Josh short-form video app, expand its local language content offerings, build an ecosystem of content creators and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in it.
After the ban on Bytedance’s TikTok by the Indian government in June left a vacuum in the short-form video domain, Josh was launched in September.
Millions of users switched to Indian short-form video apps like Chingari, Mitron, Moj and Roposo after the TikTok ban.
Josh supports 12 Indian languages, based on regional language speakers, and has become one of the most downloaded Indian short video apps on Google Play Store India, with more than 77 million monthly active users, 36 million regular active users, and more than 1.5 billion daily video players.
This is one of the largest funds available from VerSe Innovation. The company secured funds from Sequoia Capital India of over ~100 crores in September 2014. Dailyhunt has earned 24.61 crores from Omidyar and Sequoia Capital India in September 2019.
In the wake of the government’s decision to cap foreign investment in digital media firms at 26 percent, effective Oct. 31, 2021, the investment comes even as Dailyhunt appears to be restructuring its operations to diversify into several categories.
The Bengaluru-based content start-up, established in 2009 as Newshunt, was rebranded in 2015 as DailyHunt. It aggregates content in various Indian regional languages, including Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Bhojpuri, from newspapers and websites.
Also, Dailyhunt’s services include original Hindi and Telugu video content and free live TV streaming in multiple regional languages. The company claims that its machine-learning technologies allow intelligent content curation and monitors user desires to deliver customised and real-time content.