BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Indian parent of a TikTok copycat has raised more than $100 million from investors including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft, months after the Chinese-owned short-video app was banned in the country.
The app, Josh, is one of several home-grown short-video platforms that have sprung up since India blocked the wildly popular TikTok in June amidst a border crisis with China, attracting global investor interest in applications filling the gap.
Bengaluru-based 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 Inc and Lightspeed Ventures, in an effort to drive growth for its new short-video app Moj.
Both Josh and Moj have been installed on more than 50 million devices each, according to data from Google’s Play Store.
Separately on Tuesday, Indian ad technology firm InMobi’s Glance – which runs an eponymous lock-screen content app and short-video platform Roposo – said it had raised $145 million from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital.
Google set aside $10 billion earlier this year for digital investments in India.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Anil D’Silva)