India’s VerSe Innovation acquires GolBol in bid to enhance Josh

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

VerSe Innovation, parent of local language news aggregators Dailyhunt and short-form video app Josh, on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Indian social networking app GolBol.

As a part of the acquisition, VerSe Innovation will be bringing GolBol’s entire team including co-founders Shanu Vivek, Karandeep Singh Gujral and Kaushik Mahato to help multiply the impact of Josh.

The GolBol team will be focussing their efforts on enhancing Josh Cam, a mobile video editing app designed exclusively for users and creators of the short-video ecosystem. The app with its editing interface, allows short-video users to impart a professional touch to their content.

The GolBol team will also drive efficiencies in artificial intelligence and machine learning to help Josh build discovery initiatives for user-generated content.

GolBol marks VerSe’s third acquisition this year. Previous acquisitions made by the company in 2021 include Bengaluru-based Cognirel Technologies Pvt. Ltd to improve its AI capabilities; and video-sharing app Vebbler, to increase creator offerings on Josh.

In an earlier interaction with Mint in August, VerSe founders Umang Bedi and Virendra Gupta said that the company was eyeing 10-12 acquisitions in 8-10 months.

The acquisition also comes just two months after VerSe raised $450 million from marquee global investors including Siguler Guff, Baillie Gifford, affiliates of Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II and others, valuing the startup at nearly $3 billion.

“VerSe’s clear growth strategy for Josh grounded in an entrepreneurial mindset has motivated this alliance with some of India’s brightest minds and passionate innovators who understand how Bharat consumes, creates and engages with content. Not only does this power our commitment to build Bharat’s biggest digital platform that captures the mindshare, timeshare and revenue share of local language users. It also validates our culture of learning and mentorship,” said Shailendra Sharma, senior vice president, product and engineering at VerSe Innovation.

Apart from acquisitions, VerSe is also planning to write small cheques to entrepreneurs at seed or early-stages, complementary to its business, the founders told Mint in an earlier interaction.

“GolBol was born from the simple idea to motivate local language users to share their lives online through an easy-to-use product. We had larger plans and wanted to solve for Bharat’s diverse content needs. The ambition and clarity of thought demonstrated by the leadership at Josh convinced us that this was the right fit. We are aligned with the company’s vision to deliver a family of apps for a Bharat audience,” said Shanu Vivek, chief executive officer and co-founder of GolBol.

VerSe is currently clocking an annual revenue run rate (ARR) of $115 million and expects to reach an ARR of $175 million to $200 million by the end of this year. At present, VerSe has a local language creator base of over 50 million and manages 150,000 creators across Tier 2 and 3 geographies.

Just like its competitors including Sharechat’s Moj and InMobi’s Glance, VerSe is also planning to launch live streaming and video as well as influencer-led commerce on its platform .

This article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.