Lock screen platform Glance raises $145 m from Google, Mithril Capital

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Lock screen platform Glance on Tuesday announced that it has closed a $145 million investment round from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital. A year ago, Glance had raised $45 million from Mithril Capital, a growth-stage investment firm co-founded by Silicon Valley investors Ajay Royan and Peter Thiel.

A B2C subsidiary of InMobi Group and owner of video-sharing social media platform Roposo, Glance seeks to deliver trending content across entertainment, sports, fashion, news and other content categories in a rich, visual format that is easy to consume with just a tap on the lock screen. It leverages its strategic partnership with leading Android smartphone brands to deliver this native user experience.

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Glance delivers AI-driven personalised content in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bahasa on the lock screen of Android smartphones. With more than 115 million (80% from India) daily active users who spend 25 minutes per day, Glance claims to be one of the largest digital consumer platforms in the world.

Roposo app

Roposo is a short-form video platform with more than 33 million monthly active users who spend 20 minutes daily consuming content across multiple genres in more than 10 languages. The Roposo app has been downloaded more than 100 million times on the Google Play Store, according to the company.

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“Glance is an India innovation that is changing the way consumers are experiencing their Android phones. It’s been only 18 months since we launched Glance in March 2019 after working on it for two years. Glance has broken into the top 10 consumer platforms globally with the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Youtube, TikTok, WeChat and Twitter. The first wave of the top consumer platforms got built from the US, the second wave came from China. This is the first time a consumer application from India has broken into the top 10 globally,” Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO of Glance and InMobi Group, told BusinessLine.

“Glance is re-imagining the future of digital consumption on smartphones. We are absolutely thrilled to have Google as a strategic investor in Glance and Roposo. With two of the largest digital content platforms in the country, we have taken the lead in making the digital economy accessible for the next billion users in India and globally,” he added.

Fresh funds deployment

Glance will use the new investment to deepen its AI capability across Glance and Roposo, expand its technology team, launch services on the platform, further strengthen the brand and drive expansion in global markets — go deeper into South-East Asia, launch in Latin America this year and launch in the US in late 2021-22.

“Glance is a great example of innovation solving for mobile-first and mobile-only consumption, serving content across many of India’s local languages. 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 start-ups towards the shared goal of building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone,” said Caesar Sengupta, V-P, Google.

“Glance, the world’s largest screen zero platform, is a powerful innovation to democratise content on the mobile internet. It has been fantastic working with the Glance leadership team in realising Glance’s global vision of breaking through technical and linguistic barriers to deliver frictionless and engaging experiences across cultures and languages,” said Ajay Royan, Managing General Partner and co-founder of Mithril Capital.

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