Verse Innovation, the parent company of vernacular news aggregator Dailyhunt and maker of short video entertainment app Josh, has raised $450 million in its Series I round led by Siguler Guff, Baillie Gifford and Carlyle Asia Partners. Existing investors Sofina Group, Qatar Investment Authority and BCap also participated on a pro-rata basis.
Dailyhunt had last raised $100 million in February, taking the total capital raised in 2021 to beyond $650 million. According to the company, it raised the fresh round at a post-money valuation of $3 billion.
The investment will be focused on strengthening the company’s leadership position, said Verse Innovation in a press release.
Dailyhunt claims to serve over 300 million users every month whereas the short video app Josh claims to have 115 million monthly active users or MAUs and 56 million daily active users or DAUs.
Backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Falcon Edge Capital, Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Dailyhunt became the first unicorn in the news aggregation space.
Inshorts, which is a direct competitor to Dailyhunt, has also raised three back to back rounds in a matter of a year. Last month, it had secured $60 million in a funding round led by Vy Capital with participation from existing investors. Importantly, the company has been positioning its new app Public as the anchor in recent fundraises.
While the contribution of Josh in Dailyhunt’s income could be ascertained when the company would file an annual balance statement for FY21, it had improved its financial performance in FY20 with revenue from operations growing 75.3% to Rs 267.6 crore. It recorded a revenue of Rs Rs 152.7 crore in FY19.
Its losses also grew 34.3% to Rs 401.3 crore in FY20 from Rs 300 crore in FY19.
According to analysts tracking the company, its losses are likely to jump in FY21 and FY22 as well because of Josh. Unlike news aggregation business, Josh is facing intense competition from ShareChat’s Moj, InMobi’s Roposo and MX TakaTak and will continue to guzzle cash.