Google and Microsoft invest in TikTok competitor in India

The tech giants participated in the $ 100 million investment round from VerSe Innovation, maker of the Indian short video app Josh.

Google (Alphabet) and Microsoft joined a more than $ 100 million investment round in VerSe Innovation, maker of Indian short video app Josh and news aggregator Dailyhunt, valuing the company at more than $ 1 billion.

The new financing is led by AlphaWave, joined by existing investors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Sequoia Capital India are other investors in VerSe.

The company says it plans to expand Josh, expand his content creation ecosystem, and develop artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help him reach an ever-expanding audience. It will also explore possible initiatives beyond its borders, in other international markets that show a need for content in the vernacular.

Josh is a competitor to TikTok, adapted to his home country and variety of local languages. The firm touts its “Made in India” quality, at a time when TikTok and numerous apps developed in China are banned over privacy and national security concerns.

The app has rapidly accumulated 77 million monthly active users and currently reaches more than 1.5 billion video views per day, according to a company statement.

“In the last two years alone, 100 million new Internet users have connected from rural India. But many of these Internet users continue to have trouble finding content to read or services they can confidently use, in their own language. ”Wrote Google Vice President Caesar Sengupta in a blog post.

That’s why Google is getting involved in supporting VerSe, whose Dailyhunt is a focus for more than 300 million users to consume content in a selection of 14 local languages.