The parent of India’s TikTok copycat has raised more than $100 million from investors including American tech giants Google and Microsoft, months after the country banned the Chinese-owned short-video app.
The app, Josh, is one of many home-grown short-video platforms that have emerged after India blocked the wildly popular TikTok in June, attracting global investor interest in apps that fill the void. India banned the app along with numerous others following a border crisis with China.
India’s VerSe Innovation, which owns Josh, is valued at more than $1 billion following the investment, it said in a statement.
AlphaWave, a part of global asset manager Falcon Edge Capital, also invested in VerSe, as did existing investors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems, VerSe said, adding that it would use the funds to scale up Josh.
VerSe also owns news and content platform Dailyhunt, which offers content in multiple Indian languages.
In September, Indian content-sharing platform ShareChat raised $40 million from investors including Twitter and Lightspeed Ventures, in an effort to drive growth for its new short-video app Moj. According to data from Google’s Play Store, both Josh and Moj have been installed on over 50 million devices each.
Google also separately announced the investment in VerSe, adding it had also invested in mobile advertising technology firm InMobi, which runs lock-screen content app Glance and short-video app Roposo.
Google, which had set aside $10 billion for digital investments in India, did not provide any financial details for the investments.
Josh, the short video app, was launched in September this year to fill the vacant spot caused by TikTok ban. The app exploded in popularity almost immediately powered by celebrity endorsers and “Made in India” sentiments.