As its lock screen platform subsidiary, Glance has raised $145 million in a primary investment round from Google and current investor Mithril Capital, InMobi has seen a second unicorn emerge from its community.
Two people aware of the deal said the financing values the company at a little over $1 billion.
With this round, Roposo, which also owns a short-video social media network, becomes one of the first start-up entities in the burgeoning social media space of India to achieve a $1 billion valuation, along with Dailyhunt, a bite-size news platform launched by Josh after TikTok’s departure in June.
Glance is also one of the fastest startups to reach ‘unicorn’ status, closing in with Ola’s electric vehicle subsidiary, Ola Electric, in a period of fewer than two years (20 months), which reached a $1 billion valuation in 2019.
In two years of starting operations, Business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan, founded by former Flipkart executives and Paytm Mall, achieved unicorn status.
Glance is located on the Android lock screen and offers customised content in multiple languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bahasa, powered by artificial intelligence. At present, more than 115 million regular active users spend 25 minutes a day on the site.
The funds will be used for product growth as well as international expansion, according to the company, as the company sets out to go deeper into the South-east Asian region, Latin America and the US market.
Glance is now present in 15 markets in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and will extend to Brazil next year and shift into the US market by the last quarter of 2021 through collaborations with telecommunications operators.
The strategic investment in Google also enables Glance to seek deeper global integration with the Android ecosystem.
With the size we’ve reached on Glance, along with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and others, we are now among the world’s top 10 social platforms. Most consumer innovation has traditionally come from China, and now the focal point has shifted to India. Today, we have collaborations with every manufacturer of devices in the world, and we will continue to go deeper and explore interesting ways in which content is consumed by users,” said Naveen Tewari, InMobi Group founder and chief executive.
Glance also acquired the short-video site Roposo in November of last year.
After TikTok departure, players such as Glance-Roposo, Dailyhunt’s Josh, and MX Takatak, owned by the Times party, were the top reapers of the vacuum left by the Chinese social big. Roposo, Josh and MX Takatak were among Indian apps that, according to management consultancy Redseer, together with captured 40 percent of the short video market once dominated by TikTok.
Roposo is currently experiencing close to 32 million monthly active users, with nearly 22 minutes spent on the site every day. With over 30 million videos produced each month, it has close to 3 million active creators on its platform. As Roposo closes the gap between Dailyhunt’s Josh, monthly video views for the site average about 30 billion.
Ajay Royan, Managing General Partner and Co-founder of Mithril Capital, said, “Glance, the world’s largest zero-screen platform, is a powerful innovation to democratise content on the mobile Internet.”