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Bengaluru-based VerSe Innovation, which owns and operates local language news Dailyhunt and short-form video app Josh, has acquired Vebbler, a community-focused photo and video sharing app launched by Sahil Bhagat.

This is the second acquisition in two weeks for VerSe Innovation, which recently acquired AI-startup Cognirel Technologies.

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This acquisition will help VerSe, which recently became India’s first tech unicorn for local languages, boost its efforts to build the largest digital media platform that serves unmet content needs of millions of consumers using technology.

“The combination of Vebbler’s product capabilities with our platform will improve our ability to drive innovation around the camera and social engagement and play a more meaningful role in capturing the mindshare, timeshare, and revenue share of Bharat’s local language users," said Virendra Gupta, founder, VerSe Innovation.

Vebbler lets people join groups called ‘clubs’ and share photos and videos around different interests, whether it’s fashion, travel, photography or entertainment. With over 100+ categories, users create content using Vebbler’s camera, packed with superior creation tools such as AI-based neural-art filters, effects, stickers, GIFs, drawing tools and fonts along with proprietary technology on video processing and editing. Leveraging Vebbler’s camera and community will give Josh a powerful differentiator in the market and present millions of Josh users the additional opportunity to harness India’s diverse creativity and talent.

Vebbler was backed initially by actors Dino Morea and Nikhil Chinapa and was designed as a private way to share photos and videos with friends in real-time at events which then pivoted into an interest-based network in 2018.

“My vision with Vebbler was to build a video first social media platform out of India. Our use case, domain understanding, technology expertise is unique in the Indian market. In VerSe Innovation’s vision, we find strategic synergies between Josh and Vebbler. This deal speaks volumes to the value and quality of our product," said Sahil Bhagat, Founder, Vebbler.

Short-form video app Josh remains the core focus area for the Bengaluru-based startup as it plans to put new funds in the ongoing efforts to scale up its local language content offerings, develop a content creator ecosystem and to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the app.

In the last three months, Josh has attracted over $200 million funding from global investors such as Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Glade Brook Capital Partners, along with Google, Microsoft, and AlphaWave (a unit of Falcon Edge Capital).

According to the company, Josh is the fastest growing and most engaged short-video app in India with over 85 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), 40 million DAUs (Daily Active Users) and more than 1.5 billion video plays per day.

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