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Dailyhunt & Josh’s parent raises $805 million at a valuation of $5 billion

Even though capital markets witness a slowdown in funding deals, Dailyhunt and Josh parent VerSe Innovation has bagged a massive $805 million funding round to support its foray into live commerce and Web3, among other initiatives.

This round was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) who has contributed $425 million in the round, valuing VerSe Innovation at $5 billion. Currently, the parent entity runs three apps — local language content platform Dailyhunt, short video platform Josh and hyperlocal video platform PublicVibe.

Web3 foray & global ambitions
The company will announce its Web3 platform in a couple of weeks and it will go live shortly after. Defining the vision behind its Web3 foray, Bedi said, “the new platform will help creators monetise their content and unique creations across the Web3 universe.” Going by the description, the company’s new platform is likely related to NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Adding to this, Virendra Gupta, founder of VerSe Innovation, said, “We are not creating a new blockchain or a new token. We are going to use existing layers of Web3 stack and build something very interesting which can fuel the creativity of Indians. It is our mission to take Indian consumer companies global and this is our first step towards it.”

In an attempt to go global, company’s Web3 experience will start with English as a choice. Bedi added that company’s existing AI models can be exported to every local language market across the world.

New monetisation models
The company is expanding its monetisation model from just advertising to more commerce-based models. First is connecting brands with the company’s existing base of influencers and creators. Second, driving live commerce experiences through certain creators who have their own products or brands. For instance, a creator on the platform has her/his own brands of masalas.

The third model is shoppable commerce, where the company wants to use AI and computer vision-based object detection in its videos to make things like creator’s spectacles or T-shirt shoppable. The company will enable this, by comparing and indexing these objects with existing catalogues of large e-commerce players. The order fulfilment in these models will be done by the e-commerce companies.

In FY21, VerSe Innovation recorded a total consolidated loss of ₹807.9 crore, as compared to its ₹410 crore loss in FY20. Responding to this, Bedi said that all the revenues reported in FY21 are on Dailyhunt because they haven’t started monetising Josh app, till now. Last year, the company invested in user acquisition and creator acquisition for Josh but this year, it will start monetising Josh as well, using the new commerce models.

Short-video app, Josh is said to have over 150 million MAUs (monthly active users), and 200 creators. Whereas, Dailyhunt has over 350 million MAUs and over 100,000 content partners and individual content creators. Also, a hyperlocal video app PublicVibe was acquired by VerSe about 4-5 months back and is said to have 5 million MAUs. The Hindu BusinessLine

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