Mobile-advertising entity, InMobi has seen a second unicorn emerge from its group, as its lock screen platform subsidiary, Glance has raised $145 million in a primary investment round from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital.
Two individuals aware of the deal, said that the funding values the firm at a little over $1 billion dollars. InMobi and Glance did not confirm the valuation to Mint, until press time.
Mint was the first to report that Glance will be turning into a unicorn as a part of its ongoing fund raise, in its September 8 edition.
With this round, Glance, which also owns short-video social media platform, Roposo, becomes one of the first startup entity in India’s burgeoning social media space to achieve a $1 billion valuation, along with bite-size news platform Dailyhunt, which launched Josh, after TikTok’s exit in June.
Glance is also one of the fastest startups to achieve ‘unicorn’ status, in a span of less than two years (20 months), closing in with Ola’s electric vehicle subsidiary, Ola Electric, which touched a $1 billion valuation in 2019.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan, started by former Flipkart executives and Paytm Mall, achieved unicorn status in 2 years of starting operations.
Glance sits on the Android lock screen and delivers artificial intelligence-driven personalized content in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bahasa. Currently, the platform witnesses more than 115 million daily active users that spend 25 minutes per day.
According to the company the funds will be utilized for product development, as well as for international expansion as the company sets sight to go deeper into the South-east Asian market, Latin America as well as the US market.
Glance is already present in 15 Southeast Asian markets including Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and will expand to Brazil next year, and turn towards the US market through partnerships with telecom operators by the last quarter of 2021.
The Google strategic investment also allows Glance to seek deeper integrations with the Android ecosystem, worldwide.
“With the scale we have achieved on Glance, we now enter the top 10 social platforms of the world along with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and others. Historically, most of the consumer innovation has come from China, and now the fulcrum has moved to India. Today, we have partnerships with every device manufacturer in the world and we will continue to go deeper and explore interesting ways how users consume content,” said Naveen Tewari, founder and chief executive of InMobi Group.
In November, last year, Glance had also acquired short-video platform Roposo.
“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 building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone,” said Caesar Sengupta, VP, Google.
Post the exit of Tik-tok, players like Glance-Roposo, Dailyhunt’s Josh and Times-group owned MX Takatak have been the top reapers of the void left by the Chinese social major. Roposo, Josh and MX Takatak were among Indian apps which together captured 40% of the short video market once dominated by TikTok, according to management consultancy Redseer.
At present, Roposo witnesses close to 32 million monthly active users, with close to 22 minutes daily spent on the platform. It has close to 3 million active creators on its platform, with more 30 million videos created, every month. Monthly video views for the platform averages around 30 billion, as Roposo closes the gap between Dailyhunt’s Josh.
“Glance, the world’s largest screen zero platform, is a powerful innovation to democratise content on the mobile Internet,” said Ajay Royan, Managing General Partner and Co-founder of Mithril Capital.
This article was first published on livemint.com