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Umang Bedi on Dailyhunt's rise and why he’s bullish about subscriptions and local short-video platforms

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Nikhil Patwardhan

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Nikhil Patwardhan

37 reads

Former Meta and Adobe executive Umang Bedi joined VerSe Innovation in 2018, later becoming a co-founder. Under his leadership, the company has grown into a $5 billion behemoth. Here, Bedi talks about why he’s bullish on India's subscription model, the future of local short video platforms, and more.

May 13, 2024

16 MINS READ

Key Takeaways

  • In December 2020, when VerSe Innovation raised $100 million to become a unicorn, its president, Umang Bedi, was elevated to co-founder status
  • Since then, Bedi has overseen the meteoric rise of the company's two platforms, Dailyhunt and Josh
  • Under Bedi's stewardship, Josh has successfully monetised, crossing an ARR of $100 million
  • Dailyhunt's premium subscription model, despite drawing much scepticism, is also seeing impressive traction, says Bedi

In December 2020, Dailyhunt's parent company secured a $100 million investment from a slew of marquee global investors, including tech giants Google and Microsoft. This injection of funds propelled the Bengaluru-headquartered company to a valuation of over a billion dollars, making it India’s 36th unicorn and one of the most valuable media tech companies globally.

However, what sparked conversations within startup circles wasn't just the billion-dollar valuation or the top investors. Rather, it was a significant personnel move. Umang Bedi, previously a key executive at Meta (formerly Facebook) India and South East Asia, who had joined Dailyhunt as president in 2018, was bestowed with the title of co-founder by company founder Virendra Gupta.

Such a late-stage elevation to co-founder status is unconventional in startup dynamics. Dailyhunt, founded in 2009, was one of India's earliest tech enterprises. However, Gupta, more popularly known as Viru, evidently saw value in appointing a seasoned former Facebook executive to spearhead his company's attempts to disrupt the local language content landscape.

VerSe, the parent company, had ventured into the short video platform arena with Josh earlier in 2020, hoping to fill the vacuum created by the Indian government’s ban on ByteDance-owned TikTok. However, it faced formidable competition from Meta's Instagram Reels, which also launched in India following the TikTok ban.

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