VerSe Innovation - Story of the Parent Company of Dailyhunt and Josh

Bharath Bharath Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Jun 22, 2022 9 min read
VerSe Innovation - Story of the Parent Company of Dailyhunt and Josh

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by VerSe Innovation.

The evolution of technology has given rise to many modern innovations. With the introduction of TVs in 1959 and mobile phones in 1995 in India, there has been an enormous growth happening in the field of communication and entertainment. Particularly, the growth of mobile phones is unbelievable in the country. According to a report by Deloitte, India is expected to have 1 billion smartphone users by 2026.

With this medium growing, the elements (content and programs) for entertainment and communication have also started to evolve. Earlier, we listened to the news readers reading some selected news in a particular time slot. Today we get to choose what, when and where to read. The news reaches us more quickly in a short and crispy manner. Knowing the pacing world and people’s lack of time, even the entertainment industry has started making changes accordingly.

VerSe is one of those companies that has adapted itself to the haste of the world. It is the parent company of the popular news application 'Dailyhunt' and the short video platform 'Josh'. This tech platform offers content and videos in many local languages to keep its users updated and entertained. The article below speaks about the growth, funding and success story of VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd.

VerSe Innovation - Company Highlights

Company Name VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd
Industry Media and Entertainment
Headquarters Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founders Virendra Gupta, Umang Bedi, Shailendra Sharma
Founded 2007
Company Valuation $5 billion+
Website verse.in

VerSe Innovation - About
VerSe Innovation - Founders and Team
VerSe Innovation - Startup Story
VerSe Innovation - Mission and Vision
VerSe Innovation - Business and Revenue Model
VerSe Innovation - Funding and Investors
VerSe Innovation - Mergers and Acquisitions
VerSe Innovation - Growth
VerSe Innovation - Competitors
VerSe Innovation - Future Plans

VerSe Innovation Founders discussing fund raising

VerSe Innovation - About

VerSe Innovation is a technology platform that offers its users to consume information and socialize with their community and media. Started as a Value Added Service (VAS) platform in 2007, VerSe Innovation started to flourish after the acquisition of Newshunt (Dailyhunt) in 2011. Later, in 2020, the company launched a new short video app called Josh which became an instant and tremendous hit.

Virendra Gupta, Shailendra Sharma and Umang Bedi are the co-founders of VerSe Innovation. The company's headquarters is situated in Bengaluru, Karnataka. This platform has over 350 million users as of today. Its services (both Dailyhunt and Josh) are available in 14 Indian Languages.

VerSe Innovation - Founders and Team

Virendra Gupta and Umang Bedi - VerSe Innovation Founders
Virendra Gupta and Umang Bedi - VerSe Innovation Founders

VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd. was founded in 2007 and has three co-founders. It was founded by Virendra Gupta, Umang Bedi, and Shailendra Sharma.

Virendra Gupta

Virendra Gupta is the founder of VerSe Innovation and Dailyhunt. He also serves as the CEO of Dailyhunt. Before founding VerSe, Virendra Gupta worked in various companies namely, BPL Mobile, On mobile, Bharti Cellular Ltd. and Trilogy. He graduated with a master's in Management from IIT Bombay - Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management.

Umang Bedi

Umang Bedi is the co-founder at VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd. He graduated in engineering from Pune University and did a Management Program at Harvard Business School. Umang Bedi worked in various big tech companies before joining VerSe Innovation. He earlier worked in Satyam Computer Services, Wipro Corporation, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Symantec Corporation. He also served as the Managing Director of Intuit Inc, Adobe (South Asia) and Facebook (India & South Asia). Bedi currently serves as the Statutory Board Member of Goals 101 in addition to VerSe Innovation.

Shailendra Sharma

Shailendra Sharma is another co-founder at VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Dailyhunt. Earlier, he also worked in Tata Research and Development Center, Persistent Systems Pvt Ltd and Trilogy.

Sandip Basu

Sandip Basu is the Chief Financial Officer at VerSe Innovation who was recently appointed in January 2022. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Cost Accountant from the respective institutes. He worked in Bharti Airtel as its CFO for 5 years until 1997. Sandip Basu served as the CEO of several companies between 1997 and 2015 namely, BPL Mobile communications Ltd, Xcel Telecom Pvt Ltd and Loop Mobile India Pvt Ltd.

Bapu Kota

Bapu Kota is currently the Senior Vice President of Engineering at VerSe Innovation. He earlier served as the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Dailyhunt. Bapu Kota graduated M.Tech (Production Engineering) from IIT Bombay in 1996. He was once the Senior Director at Yahoo and AOL.

VerSe Innovation currently has a team of around 501-1000 employees.

VerSe Innovation - Startup Story

VerSe Innovation Logo
VerSe Innovation Logo

When VerSe Innovation was founded in 2007, it commenced its business operation as a B2B company. It was assisting telecom companies in the process of sending SMS alerts, notifying subscribers for newsletters, matrimonial sites, etc., This business went on for around three years. Later, in 2011, the founders decided to acquire Eterno Infotech, which used to run Dailyhunt (earlier Newshunt) from Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni. Newshunt was later rebranded after 4 years and made Dailyhunt. This marked the company's foray into the B2C market, the real business and growth of VerSe Innovation began only then.

VerSe Innovation - Mission and Vision

“To learn and define the real principles of inclusive and empowering technologies that seek to bridge the divide across class, culture, language and geography” - VerSe Innovation

It is the guiding principle with which VerSe Innovation functions. The company wants to empower the nation digitally and eliminate the language barriers. It wanted its platform to be accessible by everyone.

VerSe Innovation’s vision is “To create the world's largest, most inclusive platform for content creators and audiences.” The company utilizes every inch of technological advancements to enhance and broaden its platform. VerSe’s investments and expansion plans reveal its steady growth towards its vision.

VerSe Innovation - Business and Revenue Model

VerSe Innovation offers content to users in their local language. It provides short and authenticated content through its platform to keep the viewer entertained and informed. The company generates revenue from the ads displayed on its apps and sites. VerSe also makes revenue often from tie-ups made with some businesses on its platform.

VerSe Innovation - Funding and Investors

VerSe Innovation has received 23 investments from various investors through multiple funding rounds. With the recent funding in April 2022, VerSe Innovation’s total valuation has reached $5 billion. Here is the list of all the funding received by the company:

Date Round Money Investors
April 6, 2022 Series J $805 million Sumeru Ventures, Google, Meta, CPP Investments, Sofina, Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Luxor Capital Group, Baillie Gifford
January 21, 2022 Series I $27 million CPP Investments
August 12, 2021 Series I $431 million Sofina, Siguler Guff & Company, Qatar Investment Authority, Carlyle Global Partners, B Capital Group, Baillie Gifford
February 8, 2021 Series H $100 million Sofina, Qatar Investment Authority, Glade Brook Capital Partners, Canaan Valley Capital
December 22, 2020 Series H $100 million Sofina, Microsoft, Lupa Systems, Google, Alphawave Group, Alpha Wave Global
November 24, 2020 Series H $10 million B Capital Group
May 1, 2020 Series G $34.7 million Lupa Systems
April 24, 2020 Series G $490K Sofina
April 18, 2020 Series G $23 million Goldman Sachs, Alpha Wave Global, Sofina, ByteDance, Advent Capital Management LLC
November 1, 2019 Corporate Round - ByteDance
August 8, 2019 Series F $2.7 million Goldman Sachs
May 15, 2019 Series F $22 million Sofina
May 5, 2019 Series F $ 35 million Goldman Sachs
January 18, 2019 Series E $3.2 million Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network, Renu Sehgal Trust, InnoVen Capital
September 3, 2018 Series E $6 million Alpha Wave Global
October 15, 2016 Series D $25 million Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network, Matrix Partners, Falcon Capital, ByteDance, Arun Sarin
February 6, 2015 Series C $40 million Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network, Matrix Partners, Alpha Wave Global
September 22, 2014 Series B $13 million Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network, Matrix Partners
February 7, 2011 Unknown Rs 286 million -
July 31, 2010 Unknown Rs 111 million -
September 29, 2009 Unknown Rs 30 million -
January 1, 2009 Unknown Rs 200 million Matrix Partners India
July 1, 2007 Seed Rs 22 million OnMobile

Sofina, Bytedance, Matrix Partners, Sequoia, Goldman Sachs, Alpha Wava Global were among some of the lead investors of VerSe, until Bytedance exited the captable at a discount of 56%, as per the news dated June 4, 2022. The regulator fillings of the company revealed that Bytedance sold its stakes to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

VerSe Innovation - Mergers and Acquisitions

Apart from Newshunt and Eterno Infotech Pvt Ltd (both are addressed as Dailyhunt today), VerSe Innovation has acquired three companies for an undisclosed amount.

Acquisition Date Name of the Company Amount
October 13, 2021 GolBol -
March 10, 2021 Vebbler -
February 23, 2021 Cognirel -

VerSe Innovation - Growth

Started as an assistive company for telcos, VerSe’s growth is believed to have kickstarted with the takeover of Newshunt in 2011. With consistent funding and backup from the investors, VerSe started to grow along with Newshunt. In 2015, the company renamed its news platform as Dailyhunt. Today, Verse’s Dailyhunt offers content in 14 languages and has a monthly viewer count of over 350 million.

In 2020, VerSe Innovation launched a short video app named ‘Josh’, a replacement for ‘TikTok’ right after its ban. This app became an immediate sensational hit among Indians. It took just 45 days for this entertainment platform to reach 23 million active users. Josh today has over 150 million monthly active users with 50 million creators as of April 2022. VerSe Innovation’s uncompromising goal toward technological development paved the way for its venture’s success. There was a 149% increase in its revenue during the previous financial year (March 2021) which is further expected to grow in the current and upcoming years.

VerSe Innovation's Expansion to the MENA Region

VerSe Innovation plans to expand in the market of the Middle East. This will be started with Dailyhunt's foray into Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait and is expected later to expand to other countries too, including Iraq, Iran, Israel, and Egypt. Furthermore, in the MENA region, Dailyhunt would also be launched in 3 other languages - Hebrew, Farsi, and Arabic in the MENA region. Desktop, web, and mobile app version, will be the 3 different versions that Dailyhunt will launch in, which will be available for both iOS and Android platforms.

As per the news dated June 21, 2022, VerSe's strategic and business development in the MENA region will be led by Shekhar Iyer, whom the company has appointed as the director and general manager. Iyer has previously worked with Abu Dhabi Media (Radio Mirchi), Percept Gulf (MAME), Zee Entertainment, Indian Express, and Khaleej Times for which he has been given this opportunity.

Dailyhunt's expansion plans to the MENA region will be fuelled by VerSe's partnership with 5000+ content partners, which will include numerous news platforms including Al Khaleej, The Brew, MENA Newswire, Brandknew, KKompany, Chalk Media, Mudgal Kreations, Buzzing, and Gulf Today.

VerSe Innovation - Competitors

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is an American digital media company that offers entertainment and news to its users. The company's headquarters is located in New York, USA. The platform's 'social sharing' feature and a lot of interesting content and activities keep the users coming back to them.

Inshorts

Inshorts is another digital news platform that gives the latest news in a crispy manner. Every news on its platform does not exceed 60 words. Inshorts contain news from all categories like business, sports, fashion, current events, etc. It is considered to be one of the top competitors of VerSe Innovation's Dailyhunt.

Moj

Moj is a short-video-sharing platform similar to Josh. It proves to be the best competitor of Josh in terms of content, quality, services offered, etc. Moj is available in 16 languages.

ShareChat

ShareChat is another social networking service founded in 2015 in Bengaluru. It has both news and entertainment-based content in its application. This platform provides a facility called chatroom, which often organizes some chat sessions with celebrities. ShareChat functions in 15 languages and has 250 million active monthly users.

VerSe Innovation - Future Plans

VerSe Innovation plans to induce technological advancements and Artificial Intelligence into its system. The company recently received huge funds from investors. The co-founders said that these funds would be used to set up labs across the globe to solve video encoding problems on its platform.

VerSe also has plans to expand into the international market, especially in South East Asia. After achieving the targeted growth in India, the company will set its foot outside the country within a year.

FAQs

What is VerSe Innovation as a company about?

VerSe Innovation is a technology platform that helps its users to consume information and socialize with their community and media.

Who are the founders of VerSe Innovation?

Virendra Gupta, Umang Bedi, and Shailendra Sharma are the co-founders of the company.

What is the total valuation of VerSe Innovation?

With the recent funding worth $805 mn that came in April 2022, the company’s total valuation has reached $5 billion.

What are the platforms that are functioning under VerSe Innovation?

Dailyhunt and Josh are the two popular platforms that come under VerSe Innovation.

Who are the competitors of VerSe Innovation?

Top competitors of VerSe Innovation are:

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