Business News/ Companies / News/  Dailyhunt parent raises close to $28 mn from CPPIB at a valuation of $3.1 bn

NEW DELHI: VerSe Innovation Pvt. Ltd, the parent of local language news aggregator Dailyhunt and short-video app Josh, has raised $28 million (around 207 crore) in the last leg of its Series I funding round from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), it said in a regulatory filing.

As part of the transaction, VerSe allotted 50,148 Series I2 preference shares and 10 Series I equity shares to CPPIB at an issue price of 41,283.50 apiece, it said.

It has so far diluted a 21.46% stake, with its promoters holding the rest. It will use the money for general corporate purposes, it added.

News website Entrackr first reported the transaction.

“The recent round is part of our Series I closure, which concluded with CPPIB. With this round, our current valuation stands at $3.1 billion," the company said in response to an email query by VCCircle.

VerSe Innovation had raised $450 million as a part of the Series I round from global investors Siguler Guff, Baillie Gifford, and affiliates of Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II, among others in August. Existing investors Sofina Group, QIA and BCap had also participated. It had more than doubled its valuation from December 2020 when it gained unicorn status, with a fundraise of over $100 million from Google and others. Unicorns are private companies with over $1 billion in valuation.

VerSe Innovation recently bought Indian social networking app GolBol, on-boarding its entire team, including co-founders Shanu Vivek, Karandeep Singh Gujral and Kaushik Mahato to help multiply the impact of Josh, it had said.

GolBol was VerSe’s third acquisition in 2021.

It had also bought Bengaluru-based Cognirel Technologies Pvt. Ltd to improve its artificial intelligence capabilities, and video-sharing app Vebbler to scale creator offerings on Josh.

In August, the co-founders had said the company was eyeing as many as 12 acquisitions over 8-10 months.

Earlier this month, VerSe roped in Sandip Basu, a former Airtel executive, as the group chief financial officer to aggressively focus on its monetization strategy and extending its tech platforms to plug content needs of local language audiences globally.

Dailyhunt, formerly Newshunt, was launched in 2009 by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni.

VerSe Innovation acquired it in 2012 and rebranded it as Dailyhunt in August 2015. The company uses a proprietary algorithm to offer personalized news content licensed from thousands of partner sites.

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Updated: 21 Jan 2022, 10:54 PM IST
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