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Bengaluru-based VerSe Innovation, which owns and operates local language news and video app Dailyhunt (earlier known as News Hunt), has completed a $100 million+ (approximately 738 crore) round of funding from AlphaWave (a unit of Falcon Edge Capital), Google and Microsoft.

The new capital raises VerSe Innovation's value at over $1 billion, making it the first unicorn in tech for local languages, the company claims.

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Existing investors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems also participated in the latest round of investment.

"VerSe Innovation is at the forefront of innovation in consumer tech and has emerged as one of the most exciting internet companies in India. The backing by some of the world’s largest tech investors and companies is testament to their distinctive and sustainable approach and immense potential in the local language opportunity," Neeraj Shrimali, Director, Digital and Technology Investment Banking, Avendus Capital said in a statement.

Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to VerSe Innvoation on the transaction.

The company plans to use the new capital to scale up its short form video app Josh, expand its local language content offerings, to develop a content creator ecosystem and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in it.

Josh was launched in September after the ban on Bytedance's TikTok by Indian government in June left a vacuum in the short form video space.

After the TikTok ban, millions of users turned to Indian short form video apps including Chingari, Mitron, Moj and Roposo.

Focused on regional language speakers, Josh supports 12 India languages and has been one of the most downloaded Indian short-video apps on Google Play Store India with over 77 million monthly active users, 36 million daily active users and over 1.5 billion video plays every day.

This is one of the biggest funding by VerSe Innovation. In September 2014, the company had secured funds of over 100 crore from Sequoia Capital India. In September 2019, Dailyhunt had raised 24.61 crore from Omidyar and Sequoia Capital India.

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