VerSe Innovation’s operating revenue rose 1.5X to INR 964.7 Cr in FY22 from INR 666.2 Cr in FY21
However, expenses grew at a faster pacing, surging 2.4X year-on-year to INR 3,714.30 Cr
On the unit economics front, the parent company of DailyHunt and Josh spent INR 3.22 to earn every INR 1 in FY22
VerSe Innovation, the parent company of news aggregator platform DailyHunt and short video content platform Josh, recorded a loss of INR 2,563.33 Cr in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) due to a sharp rise in its expenses. The unicorn’s loss increased 3.2X during the year under review from INR 807.95 Cr in FY21.
According to its filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the unicorn’s total income grew 1.5X to INR 1,150.97 Cr from INR 771.83 Cr in FY21. Revenue from operations also rose 1.5X to INR 964.7 Cr from INR 666.2 Cr in FY21.
However, VerSe, which was last valued at $5 Bn, saw its expenses soar 2.4X to INR 3,714.30 Cr from INR 1,579.78 Cr in FY21.
At INR 2,693.42 Cr, “expenditure on production, transportation and other expenditure pertaining to exploration and production activities” accounted for the biggest portion of total expenses. The expenses under the head rose 2.1X during the year under review from INR 1,281 Cr in FY21.
VerSe’s employee benefit expenses surged 3.8X to INR 731.15 Cr from INR 191.55 in FY21.
On the unit economics front, the parent company of DailyHunt and Josh spent INR 3.22 to earn every INR 1 in FY22.
Last year, VerSe Innovation raised $805 Mn in the biggest funding round of 2022, taking its valuation to $5 Bn. At that time, cofounders Umang Bedi and Virendra Gupta told Inc42 that while DailyHunt is ‘nearly breaking even’, the idea is to make VerSe ‘an IPO-able company’.
However, VerSe Innovation fired 150 employees in November 2022, amounting to 5% of its total workforce at that time, months after the fundraise. VerSe Innovation also decided to undertake an 11% pay cut for employees with annual salaries of more than INR 10 Lakh, sources told Inc42 then.
VerSe Innovation was founded by Gupta in 2007, with Bedi joining as a cofounder in 2018. It started as a B2B company catering to telcos, mostly providing SMS alerts about jobs, property, matrimony, news and education across India, Bangladesh and Africa.
However, it pivoted into a B2C startup and acquired Eterno Infotech, which launched Newshunt in 2009. VerSe Innovation later rebranded Newshunt as Dailyhunt in 2015, which has since amassed 350+ Mn users. Last year, VerSe’s cofounders told Inc42 that 98% of the startup’s business comes from Dailyhunt via ads from clients and agencies.
Later, the unicorn launched Josh in 2021, which was aimed to be focused on vernacular short video content, which has around 150 Mn monthly active users. Josh is said to have started monetisation in April 2022.
VerSe Innovation recently completed its launch in the MENA region, with Dailyhunt being available across several countries in the Middle East and is available in Hebrew, Farsi and Arabic languages.