Qatar fund, US investor lead Dailyhunt parent’s round aimed at short-video push

Qatar fund, US investor lead Dailyhunt parent’s round aimed at short-video push
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8 Feb, 2021

VerSe Innovation Pvt. Ltd, the parent of online news and content platform Dailyhunt and short video app Josh, on Monday said it has raised another sum more than $100 million (Rs 727 crore) as part of its Series H round of funding.

The latest funding was led by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and US-based alternative asset manager Glade Brook Capital Partners, said VerSe in a statement.

Canaan Valley Capital and existing investor Sofina Group also participated in this round, it added.

The fresh funding comes within two months of VerSe amassing a similar amount in an exercise that had catapulted the company to the unicorn club of startups with a valuation of at least $1 billion. Participants in that round included Falcon Edge Capital-managed Alpha Wave and technology giants Google and Microsoft.

The latest capital will also be used to scale up Josh. VerSe said that Josh has 85 million monthly active users, 40 million daily active users and more than 1.5 billion video plays per day. 

VerSe's short-video push comes after a ban on the very popular app TikTok last year.

Several other companies – both early-stage and established firms – have made a play for this space, including Dailyhunt competitor ShareChat, which in September raised $40 million to grow its short video app Moj.

Dailyhunt was launched as Newshunt by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2009 and sold to VerSe in 2012. It was rebranded as Dailyhunt in August 2015.

The company uses a proprietary algorithm to deliver personalised news content. It offers news articles and other content licensed from thousands of partners in at least 15 languages. In June last year, the company acquired hyperlocal-focused peer LocalPlay for an undisclosed amount.

Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial adviser to VerSe on the transaction.