Josh, an Indian TikTok clone, has reportedly raised funds worth more than $100 million led by investors such as Microsoft and Google. AlphaWave, which is a part of Falcon Edge Capital, also participated in this funding round, in addition to the company’s existing investors namely Lupa Systems and Sofina Group.
With this investment, the company is planning to leverage AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) capabilities to scale up its app. It claims to be the 1st tech unicorn for the local languages in the country.
The announcement happened in line with the recent ban of the Chinese short-video app, TikTok, in the country. Josh is a home-grown short-video platform that has been gaining high popularity since the country banned the widely popular Chinese app in June, amid the India-China border crisis. This issue has attracted global investors in various applications that fill the gap of TikTok.
After the latest investment, VerSe Innovation, the Bengaluru-based owner of Josh, reportedly registered more than $1 billion in revenue. In addition to Josh, VerSe also owns Dailyhunt, a news & content platform that provides content in multiple Indian languages.
In September 2020, an India-based content-sharing platform, ShareChat secured funding of $40 million from investors such as Lightspeed Ventures and Twitter Inc, with an aim to drive the growth of Moj, a new short-video app. For the record, both Moj and Josh have been installed from Google Play Store on above 50 million devices each.
Additionally, Google made a separate investment in VerSe and a mobile advertising technology firm, InMobi, which runs Roposo, a short-video app, and Glance, a lock-screen content app. The company also had reportedly set aside $10 billion to make digital investments in India.
Google declined to provide the financial details of the recent investments.