VerSe Innovation, the company behind short form video app, Josh has raised $805 million in its latest Series J funding round. This is reportedly, the largest funding round by any Indian start-up this year so far.
Josh’s parent company also owns the news aggregating platform, DailyHunt and the hyperlocal community video platform, PublicVibe. VerSe Innovation is now valued at a whopping $5 billion.
The investment was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) which invested US$425 million in VerSe Innovation Private Limited. Following an initial equity investment of US$50 million in VerSe Innovation’s previous funding round, CPP Investments acted as a lead investor in the latest round with a further US$375 million equity investment
The round of investments saw participation from existing and new investors, including Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), Luxor Capital, Sumeru Ventures, Sofina Group, Baillie Gifford and others.
The newly raised funds will be used to strengthen VerSe Innovation’s AI and Machine Learning capabilities and broadening its offerings to include areas such as e-commerce and live streaming.
Virendra Gupta, founder of VerSe Innovation, said, “We are privileged and honoured to have prominent and stellar long-term partners like CPP Investments, Ontario Teachers’, Luxor Capital and Sumeru Ventures on board with us. This partnership will strengthen our ability and leadership to deliver on our vision to build the largest AI powered local language content platform across a family of apps serving the next billion users.”
Umang Bedi, Co-founder of VerSe Innovation, added, “With a strategic focus on video content and building for India, we have seen explosive growth emerging from the next billion users coming out of regional India. This investment comes at a time when we’re on a path to further expand our offerings, monetisation models, deliver superlative Web 3.0 experiences for the globe and create an IPO scale business.”
According to the Economic Times, Josh is home to 150 million monthly active users with 49% of them being daily active users. The SFV app was launched a mere four days after the TikTok ban in 2020 in order to capture the Chinese app’s 200 million users.
Shortly after VerSe Innovation’s series J funding round, the company announced its plans to dominate the Web 3.0 space by helping regional content creators monetise their efforts through NFTs, the metaverse and incorporating blockchain technology.