Indian startup Glance, which serves news, media content, and games on the lock screen of over 100 million smartphones, has a new investor: Google.
The two-year-old Glance, which is part of advertising giant InMobi Group, said on Tuesday that it has raised $145 million in a new financing round from Google and existing investor Mithril Partners. The new round values Glance at over $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said, making the startup a unicorn.
Glance uses AI to offer personalized experience to its users. The service replaces the otherwise empty lock screen with locally relevant news, stories, and casual games. Late last year, InMobi acquired Roposo, a Gurgaon-headquartered startup, that has enabled it to introduce short-form videos on the platform. Google is also investing in Roposo, a startup that Glance acquired last year. Roposo is a short video platform with over 33 million monthly active users. These users spend about 20 minutes consuming content across multiple genres in more than 10 languages on the app everyday.
Glance ships pre-installed on several smartphone models. The subsidiary maintains tie-ups with nearly every top Android smartphone vendor including Xiaomi, the top player in India, and Samsung. The service has amassed over 115 million daily active users.
“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, in a statement. “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 and work towards the shared goal of building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone.”
Naveen Tewari, founder and chief executive of Glance and InMobi Group, said the investment will pave the way for “deeper partnership between Google and Glance across product development, infrastructure, and global market expansion.” The startup plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand in the U.S.
Investment in DailyHunt
Google said on Tuesday that it is also investing in VerSe Innovation, the parent firm of Indian startup DailyHunt. Across its apps including DailyHunt and short-video platform Josh, DailyHunt claims to serve over 300 million users news and entertainment content in 14 Indian languages. The startup said it has completed a round of over $100 million from Google, Microsoft, and AlphaWave among other investors and this new round values it at over $1 billion, making it a unicorn.
DailyHunt — which is co-run by Umang Bedi, former Facebook India head — plans to deploy the fresh capital to scale Josh app, the augmentation of local language content offerings, the development of content creator ecosystem, innovation in AI and ML and the growth of its truly “made-in-Bharat-for-Bharat short-video platform,” it said.
Josh and Roposo are among over a dozen apps in India that are attempting to fill the void New Delhi created after banning TikTok in late June in the country.
Google is writing both these checks from India Digitization Fund that it unveiled this year. Google has committed to invest $10 billion in India over the course of next few years. Prior to today, the company invested $4.5 billion from this fund in Indian telecom giant Jio Platforms.