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VerSe Innovation Pvt. Ltd, the parent of news aggregator Dailyhunt and short-video platform Josh, has laid off 5% of its employees at its mid-year performance review to cut costs and streamline operations.

“Considering the economic climate we have evaluated our strategic priorities. For long-term viability of our business and our people, we have taken steps to implement our regular bi-annual performance management cycle and made performance and business considerations to streamline our costs and teams," said Umang Bedi, co-founder, VerSe.

In April, the company raised $805 million at a valuation of $5 billion in a round led by CPP Investments, which infused $425 million. New investors, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Sumeru Ventures and Luxor Capital, as well as existing backers Sofina Group and Baillie Gifford also participated in the round.

During the round, Chinese investor ByteDance sold its entire stake to two Canadian investors including Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, and the Canada Pension and Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Besides sacking around 150 employees, it also announced salary cuts across verticals in an effort to reduce costs. “To ensure long-term profitable growth, we have exercised fiscal and employee prudence, and implemented an 11% salary cut for individuals with annual salaries of 10 lakh or more," Bedi said.

The company employs around 3,000 professionals across its platforms

VerSe Innovation, which was founded in 2007, launched Josh in 2020 after the government had banned China’s ByteDance-operated short video platform TikTok, citing national security and user safety concerns.

In the financial year 2022, VerSe posted net loss of 2556 crore, up from 822 crore in FY21. Its revenue, however, grew to 1,095 crore, against 727 crore in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2021, showed VCCEdge, the data intelligence platform of VCCircle.

In addition to Dailyhunt and Josh, VerSe Innovation also operates hyperlocal video app PublicVibe. However, its primary source of income is Dailyhunt. In FY22, it had passed its income from Josh to its partner influencers. “We are extremely committed and bullish across the entire family of apps: Josh, Dailyhunt and PublicVibe to drive profitable growth," Bedi said in an interaction with Mint in April.

In 2021, VerSe had acquired homegrown social networking app GolBol. Earlier, the company had bought Bengaluru-based Cognirel Technologies Pvt Ltd to improve its artificial intelligence capabilities and video-sharing app Vebbler, and to increase creator offerings on Josh.

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