Google has invested in a pair of Indian startups in the next phase of the push into the region which it launched earlier this year.
The tech giant has invested in Glance, which serves news, movies, travel, sports, food, and games content on the lock screens of people’s smartphones, and VerSe Innovation, the parent company of content and news aggregator app Dailyhunt.
Glance secured $145m in investment from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital. The platform, which is part of the InMobi Group and owner of video-sharing platform Roposo, delivers AI-driven personalised content in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Bahasa on Android lock screens, boasting 115m daily active users.
It says it will use the Google-led investment to deepen its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, expand its technology team, launch new services, strengthen its brand, and drive expansion into more markets.
“Glance is a great example of innovation solving for mobile-first and mobile-only consumption, serving content across many of India’s local languages,” said Caesar Sengupta, VP, Google. “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 the shared goal of building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone.”
Google’s investment in VerSe is part of a round of over $100m, which valued the company at over $1bn. The round also included investment from Microsoft and AlphaWave, among others. The company’s Dailyhunt platform provides local language content in 14 Indian languages and it recently launched a short-video app called ‘Josh’.
The company will seek to use the capital injection to scale up its new app, expand its content offerings, and leverage AI.
The money invested in the startups by Google comes from the tech giant’s India Digitization Fund. The fund, launched earlier this year, includes a $10bn commitment by Google to India’s digital economy. This investment will take place over the next five to seven years and be done through a mixture of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments.