India just got its new tech unicorn all thanks to Google and Microsoft!
Dailyhunt’s parent company Verse Innovation recently raised more than $100 million from Microsoft, Google and Falcon Edge’s Alpha Wave Incubation along with their existing investors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems at a valuation of more than $1 billion. This makes the company India’s first tech unicorn to be focused on local languages.
According to media reports, the company will be using these freshly infused funds to scale their TikTok-rival app Josh. Verse Innovation is looking forward to developing its short-form video app’s content creator ecosystem and simultaneously increasing their push into Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
For Dailyhunt, the recent round of investment comes at a time when they are restructuring their operations in order to diversify in various different categories as a result of the Indian Government’s decision to cap foreign direct investment in digital media firms at 25% (effective from Oct 31, 2021).
The Bengaluru-based content startup was founded in 2009 as Newshunt and then went on to rebrand themselves as DailyHunt in 2015. Their platform aggregates content from various newspapers and websites in Indian regional languages which include Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil and Bhojpuri.
Currently, Dailyhunt’s services also include lot many regional video content in Hindu and Telugu along with free live TV streaming as well. The firm claims that their machine-learning technologies help them in smart curation of content and tracks user preferences to deliver on real-time and personalise content for users.
Now, it is already well known that the onset of the anti-China sentiments sparking sprouting up due to the Galway Valley conflict led TikTok getting banned in India in June. That is when several companies launched their own short-video app to fill the void left by the ByteDance-owned giant. DailyHunt was one of them as well. Dailyhunt launched Josh in July.
The app currently claims to have more than 77 million monthly active users aka MAUs with over 1.5 billion video plays on their platform on a daily basis.
According to DailyHunt, all together, it has over a whopping 300 million users spread across their various apps and a network of over 100,000 content creators and content partners.
The local language content space is one of the largest and biggest untapped opportunities in India and the recent fundraising by Dailyhunt proved exactly that. It has also signalled that tech biggies such as Google and Microsoft are betting on it to grow big-time.
Google along with Mithril Capital also invested about $145 million in Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi Group and owner of the fast-growing video-sharing social media platform Roposo.
In the previous month, reports surfaced about Google being in advanced talks of acquiring ShareChat which, similar to DailyHunt, has a strong presence in the country’s vernacular domain.
Sharechat’s TikTok-rival app Moj has over 80 million monthly users while their own standalone platform has over 30 million monthly users.
All in all, it is well-understood startups focused in Indian local languages have a humongous scope to scale now more than ever as they are an effective means of reaching out to the next big wave of internet adopters who are coming online for the first-time. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.