BENGALURU: Google’s newest bet is on short-video apps in India after the tech giant announced a $10 billion investment to boost the country’s digital economy earlier this year.
Google’s investment in home-grown Tik Tok rivals including InMobi’s Roposo and VerSe Innovation’s Josh comes at a time when the short-content platforms have captured 67% of Tik Tok’s market in India, according to a recent report by Redseer. The short-content apps currently have a 250 million userbase in India.
Google has led a $145 million funding round in Glance, a lock-screen content platform owned by Inmobi (mobile-marketing unicorn) in which existing investor Mithril Capital also participated. Glance recently acquired short-video platform Roposo, with more than 33 million active users who spend 20 minutes daily consuming content across multiple genres in more than 10 languages. The Roposo app has been downloaded more than 100 million times on the Google Play Store.
Glance delivers AI-driven personalized content in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bahasa on the lock screen of Android smartphones and has over 115 million daily active users. Caesar Sengupta, VP, Google India, said that Glance is a great example of innovation solving for mobile-first and mobile-only consumption, serving content across many of India’s local languages.
“Still, too many Indians have trouble finding content to read, or services they can use confidently, in their own language. And this significantly limits the value of the internet for them, particularly at a time like this when the internet is the lifeline of so many people. This investment underlines our strong belief in working with India’s innovative startups towards the shared goal of building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone,” Sengupta added.
Google’s second bet is on VerSe Innovation’s Josh — another short-video app which according to recent estimates was the leader in the niche segment in India. Google along with Microsoft and Alpha Wave made a $100 million investment in VerSe Innovation at a $1 billion valuation marking its entry in the unicorn club.
VerSe plans to deploy its new capital steadily in the continued scaling up of Josh, the augmentation of local language content offerings, the development of content creator ecosystem, innovation in AI and ML and the growth of its vernacular languages short-video platform. Josh has over 77 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), 36 million DAUs (Daily Active Users) and 1.5+ billion video plays per day.
Besides, VerSE’s short-content app, the Daily Hunt platform, has 300 million active users offering content in 14 local languages.