2021-02-09

Matrix-backed VerSe Innovation raises $100M from Qatar Investment Authority and Glade Brook Capital

Josh, India’s leading short video platform has now attracted over $200M+ investment from global marquee investors in the last 2 months since it became India’s first tech unicorn for local languages

Bengaluru, February 08, 2021: VerSe Innovation, India’s biggest local language technology platform, today announced it has raised another $100 million+ in a Series H funding round led by global investors Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar and Glade Brook Capital Partners. Canaan Valley Capital and existing investor Sofina Group also participated in this round. The multi-million-dollar investment follows close on the heels of a $100 million+ fundraise from Google, Microsoft and AlphaWave in December 2020.

Debuting as the first unicorn in tech for local languages last year, VerSe Innovation has seen tremendous investor interest in Josh since its launch. With this new infusion of capital, the company is adding QIA and Glade Brook Capital Partners to a stellar line up of existing blue-chip investors that include Google, Microsoft, AlphaWave, Goldman Sachs, Sofina Group, Lupa Systems, Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge Capital and Omidyar Network, among others. Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to VerSe Innovation on the transaction.

In a show of extraordinary confidence in the potential of its made-in-India, short-video app Josh, this funding sets VerSe Innovation on a strategic expansion path for its family of apps focused on Bharat. It also comes at a time when India embarks on a journey of economic recovery, underscored by a laser focus on an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. VerSe Innovation plans to deploy this capital steadily in the continued scaling up of made-in-Bharat- for-Bharat-by-Bharat-in-12-Bhartiya-languages-hosted-in-Bharat short video platform Josh. This will include the augmentation of local language content offerings, the development of its content creator ecosystem, innovation in AI and ML and more importantly, the creation of opportunity for India’s vast talent pool.

Josh represents a confluence of India’s top 200+ best creators, the 10 biggest music labels, 15+ million UGC creators, best in class content creation tools, the hottest entertainment formats, and formidable user demographics. Josh has been consistently rated as the leading Indian short-video app in India on the Play store. Currently, Josh is the fastest growing and most engaged short-video app in India with over 85 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), 40 million DAUs (Daily Active Users) and 1.5+ billion video plays per day.

VerSe Innovation’s proprietary technology platform also powers various technology solutions including 300 million+ users on Dailyhunt to consume content in their local language. Dailyhunt is India’s #1 vernacular content platform offering content artifacts every day in 14 languages. Content on Dailyhunt is sourced from a licensed creator ecosystem of over 100,000 content partners and individual content creators. This solid business foundation and capital infusion now sets the company on a path of rapid growth, as it explores building a family of apps and expanding across other international geographies to extend its broad-based tech platforms in serving similar unmet content needs of local language audiences globally.

Virendra Gupta, Founder, Dailyhunt & Umang Bedi, Co-founder, Dailyhunt, commented, “We strongly believe that the digital local language market in India is at the brink of disruption, and our vision is to build a suite of apps for the next billion users coming out of tier 2 & 3 India. This investment is a testament to the dent created by the VerSe group in the Indian market and our potential as India’s biggest local language technology platform. We’re excited to partner with QIA and Glade Brook Capital Partners, and look forward to the next phase of growth!”

Vikram Vaidyanathan, Managing Director, Matrix India, added, “We’re privileged to be early partners with Viru and Umang on their incredible journey. Their focused approach on innovating for Bharat, while executing on a sustainable business model, has positioned them at the forefront of the digital local language market in India. We look forward to the next phase of this journey to build India’s largest local language platform, and welcome Glade Brook and QIA to the partnership!”

About VerSe Innovation:
At the core of VerSe Innovation, is the idea that technology can help bridge the digital divide. Since its inception, VerSe has risen to the challenge of serving the unmet content needs of millions of consumers using technology. Its unique machine learning and deep learning technologies enables personalised content to be delivered to users based on their consumption preferences. Today VerSe Innovation’s proprietary technology platform powers

300 million + users to consume content in their local language on Dailyhunt. Its technology also powers India’s #1 and most engaging short video app Josh.

About Qatar Investment Authority (QIA):
Qatar Investment Authority ("QIA") is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar. QIA was founded in 2005 to invest and manage the state reserve funds. QIA is among the largest and most active sovereign wealth funds globally. QIA invests across a wide range of asset classes and regions as well as in partnership with leading institutions around the world to build a global and diversified investment portfolio with a long-term perspective that can deliver sustainable returns and contribute to the prosperity of the State of Qatar. For more information, please visit www.qia.qa
 
About Glade Brook Capital:
Glade Brook is a growth equity firm investing globally in the most promising technology companies. The firm partners with entrepreneurs and management teams to accelerate growth and maximize long-term shareholder value, from growth stage through IPO and beyond. Through deep sector expertise, fundamental research, thought leadership and an extensive network of industry relationships, Glade Brook has catalyzed value creation for many of the world’s most promising companies, including Zomato, Meituan, Airbnb, Instacart and Uber, among others. To learn more about Glade Brook please visit http://www.gladebrookcapital.com.

About Matrix Partners India:
Matrix Partners India is an investment firm with approximately $1 billion under management. Founded in 2006, the firm invests in companies targeting the Indian consumer and enterprise market at the seed, early and early growth stages. Matrix India has invested in several market leading companies such as Ola (mobility), Dailyhunt (mobile local language platform), Five Star Business Finance (SME lending), Razorpay (payments), OfBusiness (credit led B2B marketplace), Ola Electric (electric vehicles), Stanza Living (tech enabled student housing platform), Country Delight (India's largest direct-to-home food essentials brand), OneCard (mobile-first credit card), Cloudnine Hospitals (leading chain of maternity hospitals), and Mswipe (mobile POS), among others. Matrix India has advisory offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Matrix Partners has a global network of funds investing in the US, China and India, with approximately $5 billion under management. Further information is available at www.matrixpartners.in. To know more about our investment philosophy & ideologies, check out the #MatrixMoments podcast series.