Mithril Capital to invest $45m in India AI startup Glance

Photo: Mint

Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm is investing $45 million into Glance, an Indian technology startup that uses artificial intelligence to personalize content for smartphones.

Mithril Capital, co-founded by Silicon Valley investors Thiel and Ajay Royan, is putting in the money as part of a larger financing round, according to a statement. Glance is part of InMobi Group, a mobile marketing firm backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

Glance, which claims 50 million daily active users, delivers customized videos and information to people’s smartphones, with new interactive content every time users wake up their phones. As of August, users spend an average of 22 minutes a day on Glance.

A new generation of content companies are turning to artificial intelligence, rather than people, to win over new users. China’s Bytedance Ltd. used the technology to create a hit news service called Toutiao before finding bigger success with the TikTok viral video service. The Beijing-based company is now the most valuable startup in the world.

Glance plans to use the new funds to launch several new services, including a short-form video platform, a destination for casual gamers and a shopping application. As part of Mithril’s investment, Royan has joined the startup’s board.

“We share Glance’s global vision of breaking through the constraints of application architectures and linguistic markets to deliver rich, frictionless, and engaging experiences across a myriad of cultures and languages,” he said in the statement.