Dailyhunt parent closes $100 mn funding round, turns unicorn

Dailyhunt parent closes $100 mn funding round, turns unicorn
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22 Dec, 2020

Bengaluru headquartered VerSe Innovation, which operates news aggregator and content platform Dailyhunt and short video platform Josh, has announced the completion of its staggered $100 million fundraise. 

The closure of the round has valued the company at over $1 billion, a statement said.

New investors Google, FalconEdge Capital-backed Alpha Wave and Microsoft infused an undisclosed amount in the lastest tranche of the growth funding round. Returning investors Sofina Group and James Murdoch-led private equity firm Lupa Systems also participated in the round, the statement said. 

Google made the investment through its $10 billion Google for India Digitalization Fund, which has also backed Jio Platforms and lock-screen content platform Glance.

In April, FalconEdge Capital invested $9.4 million in the company alongside Chinese technology company ByteDance, investment bank Goldman Sachs and private equity firm Advent Management in a $22.5 million growth funding round, dubbed a Series G round. However, it is not immediately clear whether it was part of the latest $100 million round. 

Last month, the company raised $10 million from returning investor B-Capital Group. It has raised a total of $262.2 million across multiple rounds so far, as per VCCEdge data. 

The company declined to comment on specific queries sent by TechCircle, seeking additional details of the round. 

According to the statement, VerSe will utilise the fresh capital to scale its short video app Josh, which was launched soon after the TikTok ban. It will augment the app’s local language and content offerings, and expand its content creator base. Josh, which has partnerships with 10 music labels, currently has 77  million monthly active users. 

VerSe’s news-focused app Dailyhunt’s structure will require a rejig to be compliant with the government’s mandate on capping Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in digital media, including news aggregators, to under 26%. 

Formerly known as NewsHunt, the platform was founded in 2009 by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni. It was acquired by VerSe Innovations in 2012 and rebranded as Dailyhunt in 2015.