Google leads $145M investment in India’s Glance; backs VerSe Innovation in $100M round

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.

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.

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.” 

Google said on Tuesday that it is also investing in VerSe Innovation, an Indian startup that serves vernacular content in 14 languages through platforms like the Dailyhunt and Josh apps. VerSe Innovation said it has completed a round of over $100 million from Google, Microsoft, and AlphaWave.

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.

More to follow…

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