Vernacular news aggregation platform Dailyhunt, run by Bengaluru-based Versé Innovation Pvt. Ltd, is raising USD 173 million in a fresh round of funding from New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs’ hedge fund. The company has received USD 35.05 million as per filings with India’s ministry of corporate affairs.
Dailyhunt, formerly known as Newshunt, is likely to be valued at USD 600-650 million at the end of this fundraising exercise. It is backed by early investors like Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners India and ByteDance. In September 2018, Dailyhunt had raised over USD 6 million from New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge.
Data from research firm App Annie shows Dailyhunt is currently ranked 4th among the top news apps in India. It is trailing behind Aaj Tak, Opera news and Times of India. Dailyhunt offers news content in 14 different languages, provides original video content in Hindi and Telugu, and runs a free live television streaming service in partnerships with Vuclip and YuppTV.
It is also in direct competition with China-based NewsDog and Indian player Inshorts, and claims to have 12 million daily active users and 5.5 billion monthly page views.
Email queries sent to Dailyhunt did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report.
Brij Bhasin, principal of India Investment lead, Rebright Partners, an investor in InShorts, said their app is not competing with Dailyhunt. Bhasin said InShorts is targeting English-speaking millennials between the age of 18 and 3o in urban areas and is not aiming for top ranking in the market.
“We have no plans to compete with Dailyhunt or some Chinese news aggregators. Their market is very different from ours. We want to provide high quality content experience and don’t want go down the lane these other content players are in,” Bhasin said.
Softbank-backed ByteDance helped make Toutiao a leading news app in China. In India, it’s betting big on Dailyhunt to take on its rivals Tencent and Alibaba, who have invested in NewsDog and UC news, respectively.
ByteDance started as a text-based media distribution platform with Jinri Toutiao (今日头条) and paved way for the short-video distribution platforms Watermelon Video (西瓜视频), Volcano Video (火山视频) and Tiktok (抖音) to take on the content market. It has raised USD 3 billion in its pre-IPO round this year and is estimated to be valued at USD 75 billion.
Thanks to India’s 400 million smartphone users, news aggregation apps are getting popular and are offering localised content to scale. With the country’s relatively cheaper data packs, even video news content segment is on the rise and has opened up opportunities for vernacular content aggregators.
Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9% from FY17-18. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.1% from USD 22.3 billion in FY18 to USD 39.7 billion by FY 23, according to Equitymaster research report.