InMobi arm Glance acquires Tiger Global-backed short video content platform Roposo

InMobi arm Glance acquires Tiger Global-backed short video content platform Roposo
Naveen Tiwari
25 Nov, 2019

Barely three months picking up a funding cheque from Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, Glance, a subsidiary of advertising technology firm InMobi, has acquired multilingual short video platform Roposo. 

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Roposo’s investors, including early investors New York headquartered Tiger Global Management and Mumbai-based venture capital firm India Quotient, would be exiting the firm following the acquisition. 

The acquisition gives Glance access to Gurugram-based Roposo’s network of professional, vernacular content creators, users, video technology, platform and brand, InMobi said in a statement. Glance will tap into Roposo’s regional influencers and create vernacular video content for the locked smartphone screens, the statement added. Roposo claims more than 42 million users.

“Glance’s focus on 3Vs -- video content across a variety of topics in vernacular -- has already made it India’s fastest growing content platform. This acquisition will enable Glance to bring to the fore content created by Roposo’s large vernacular influencer community,” InMobi founder and CEO Naveen Tewari said.

Founded in July 2014 by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi graduates Mayank Bhangadia, Avinash Saxena and Kaushal Shubhank, Roposo started out as a fashion-focused social network that offered curated choices across categories such as apparel, footwear, accessories and lingerie.

In August 2017, it pivoted to a short video platform. In its current form, Roposo offers a television-like interface that allows users to watch videos in 10 Indian languages across 24 channels that are powered by a pan-India network of regional influencers. Users can also incorporate filters, stickers and effects, as per information available on its Google app store page. 

Owned by Relevant E-solutions, the app supports languages such as Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi and Bengali. It also offers content under specific categories through its channels Haha TV, Bhakti, Look Good-Feel Good and Beats.

Since its inception, the company has raised capital from multiple investors through successive rounds. In May this year, the Roposo board passed a resolution approving a $5 million fundraising from returning investor Tiger Global Management. By TechCircle estimates, the investment was made at a valuation of $40-$45 million, which was significantly lower than the post-money valuation that the company had received when it had raised a $5 million Series B round from Bertelsmann India Investments back in April 2016.

Earlier, in December last year, the company raised $10 million led by Tiger Global Management and Bertelsmann India Investments. The deal marked New York headquartered Tiger Global’s return to the Indian market after a three-year hiatus.

Apart from Tiger Global and Bertelsmann, Roposo also counts Flipkart founder Binny Bansal and India Quotient among its early investors. India Quotient had backed the company in 2014 in its seed round. 

Bengaluru-based Glance delivers artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, personalised content on smartphones. The company partners with Android phone makers to place new, personalised visual and interactive content on smartphone screens every time a user wakes up his phone. It uses AI to identify trending topics, and it also comes pre-loaded on budget smartphone devices.

The company claims to have more than 60 million daily active users who spend an average of 22 minutes per day on the app. Glance currently provides content in four languages that include Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, besides English.

Early this year, InMobi had created a holding company with three independent entities for its core businesses. Its flagship advertising technology business is housed under InMobi UMC while the data vertical TruFactor and Glance function as two separate verticals.

In September, Glance raised $45 million from Mithril Capital, a growth stage venture capital firm launched by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Indian-origin investor Ajay Royan. At the time, the company announced that it would use the funds to launch multiple new platforms including Glance TV, a mobile-first, short-form video platform; Glance Gaming, a casual gaming platform; Glance Shopping, a content-based commerce arm and Glance Nearby, a hyperlocal experiential platform.

SoftBank-backed InMobi was founded in 2007 by Tewari, Piyush Shah, Abhay Singhal, Mohit Saxena and Amit Gupta. Saxena and Gupta quit the company to start travel-tech venture Rizort and bicycle-and e-bike-sharing platform Yulu, respectively.

The flagship InMobi product focuses on the mobile advertising space, competing with the likes of Google and Facebook. TruFactor was launched in February this year. It’s a cloud-based solution to help telecom companies boost the privacy, security and regulatory compliance of their digital assets.