Bengaluru, 06 April 2022: VerSe Innovation, India’s biggest local language technology platform, today announced it has raised & signed definitive documents for US$ 805 million in latest funding rounds from marquee global investors Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), Luxor Capital, Sumeru Ventures and others. Existing investors Sofina Group, Baillie Gifford & others will also participate north of their pro-rata in this round resulting in VerSe Innovation’s valuation reaching ~US$ 5 billion. The US$ 805 million investment follows close on the heels of a US$ 650 million+ fund raise from Siguler Guff, Carlyle Group, Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital via Alpha Wave Ventures, Glade Brook Capital, Google, Microsoft and Qatar Investment Authority taking the total capital raise in the past year to ~US$1.5 billion.
The investment will be focused on strengthening the Company’s leadership position as the largest, fastest growing local language AI driven content platform in the country. Herein, VerSe plans on both deepening and broadening its AI/ML and data science capabilities to further cement its leadership position across all user, engagement & retention metrics, drive deeper Monetization including influencers, e-Commerce & Live streaming and forays into Web 3.0 experiences across its local language creator base of over 50 million creators as well as its local language content ecosystem which experiences over 80 billion video plays per month.
“India’s digital content is experiencing phenomenal growth, and VerSe Innovation is well positioned to be one of the leaders in the fast-growing short video and local language content space,” said Frank Su, Managing Director, Head of Private Equity Asia, CPP Investments. “This investment aligns with our approach of providing strategic capital to industry leaders in India’s technology sector. We look forward to supporting the next phase of VerSe Innovation’s growth journey, which we believe will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for the CPP Fund.”
Maggie Fanari, Managing Director and Global Group Head, High Conviction Equities at Ontario Teachers’ said “We are pleased to make a significant investment in VerSe Innovation through our new Alternative Capital Solutions team, which offers flexible capital to high-quality public and private growth companies. We have been impressed by the company’s innovative local language offerings, market leadership and strong management team, and are excited to be partnering with them in this journey as Ontario Teachers’ continues to build out its portfolio in India.”
Virendra Gupta Founder and Umang Bedi, Co-founder, 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. 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, monetization models, deliver superlative Web 3.0 experiences for the globe and create an IPO scale business.”
Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to VerSe Innovation on the transaction.
VerSe Innovation’s proprietary technology platform serves one out of every two internet users in the country across ‘Josh’, India’s largest short video platform and ‘Dailyhunt’, India’s largest local language content platform coupled with ‘PublicVibe’, India’s fastest growing hyper local video platform. Josh is the fastest growing and most engaged short-video app in India with over 150 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), the best DAU/MAU ratio in the industry of 49% and the highest retention. Josh represents a confluence of India’s top 200+ best creators, the 15 biggest music labels, best in class content creation tools, the hottest entertainment formats, and formidable user demographics. Dailyhunt serves over 350 million+ users every month offering content artifacts every day in 15 languages from a licensed creator ecosystem of over 100,000 content partners and individual content creators. PublicVibe serves over 5 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 1 million daily active users (DAUs) and has over 6 million+ downloads on the Play Store.
VerSe Innovation, with its family of apps focused on Bharat, became the first unicorn in tech for local languages and counts Goldman Sachs, Falcon Edge Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Matrix Partners India, Lupa Systems, B Capital Group, IIFL, Kotak, Catamaran, Bay Capital, Edelweiss and Omidyar Network, among others as existing investors.