India has seen a record number of unicorns (startups valued at $1 billion or more) being created in 2020. On Tuesday, two companies Glance and Dailyhunt turned unicorns, taking the year’s total to 11. In 2019, nine ventures became unicorns, and in the year before, it was eight.
The year began on a cautionary note, with marquee venture capital firm Sequoia Capital warning of the possibility of a ‘black swan’ like event due to the pandemic. But the large amounts of money that central banks globally have been releasing to revive their economies have ensured the opposite.
InMobi Group’s Glance, which provides dynamic content on the lock screens of Android phones, on Tuesday announced it has raised $145 million from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital, an investment fund of Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies. A source close to the company said that the funding values Glance at over $1 billion. This also puts Naveen Tewari, who founded InMobi in 2007 and Glance in 2019, among the few who have created more than one unicorn. InMobi, a mobile advertising platform, turned a unicorn when SoftBank invested $200 million in the company in 2011.
Dailyhunt, a local language-based news and content platform, on Tuesday said it has raised $100 million in new capital from Microsoft, Google, Falcon Edge’s investment unit Alpha Wave, and other investors, at a valuation of over $1 billion.
Mohan Kumar, founder and managing partner at software focused Avatar Ventures, said companies that have managed to capture the positive side of the pandemic have seen good investor interest and raised capital at a high valuation.
“Companies that are enabling digitisation of business operations and have captured (market) and grown this year are the ones which investors are pleasantly surprised by, and they are rewarding those companies,” said Kumar.
“Glance is on a tear,” Tewari said. “We own the lock screen content place, just as Facebook, WhatsApp and others own their spaces. There’s no one in the rear-view mirror for us.”
Dailyhunt’s parent firm Verse Innovation said it will use the new capital to scale up its recently launched short-video app Josh, implement AI and ML solutions, and grow its content creator ecosystem.