Umang Bedi on what worked for VerSe Innovation

Umang Bedi, Co-founder of VerSe Innovation, the parent company of news aggregator app Dailyhunt, talks about how a poll powered by Nielsen acted as a catalyst for the company's growth.

Umang Bedi on what worked for VerSe Innovation

Friday September 22, 2023,

2 min Read

Sometimes you need an external catalyst to scale up, said Umang Bedi, Co-founder of VerSe Innovation, the parent company of news aggregator app DailyHunt and short-video app Josh, recalling the time when no one believed they had an audience and the moment when seven million people responded to a poll conducted by the company, before the 2019 general elections in India.

The company had conducted the poll through data insights firm Nielsen, which said it was the largest poll in the history of mankind.

"This started our journey,” said Bedi, adding that he only cared about how many people responded to the poll and not the outcome of the poll.

The results of the poll showed strong opinion in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but no one believed it as the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) had lost three key state elections just days before VerSe announced the outcome of the poll, for which it received a lot of flak, Bedi said.

“What worked for us was our unique audience, which catered to local languages and our own native adtech," Bedi said in an interaction with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory at TechSparks 2023 in Bengaluru.

Today, the Bengaluru-based unicorn's proprietary technology platform has over 300 million users who consume content in their local language.

Last year, the company launched Dailyhunt in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, joining a number of Indian startups that have forayed into Gulf. These countries add 60 million people to the startup’s total addressable market. For expansion, it partnered with more than 5,000 content publishers in the region.

VerSe Innovation raised $805 million last year in a funding round led by global investors Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), Luxor Capital, and others.

The company has raised over $1.4 billion so far, according to data by market intelligence firm Tracxn.

(The copy was updated to fix a factual error.)

Edited by Megha Reddy