India: Local language news aggregator DailyHunt raises $25m led by China’s Bytedance

Visual from the company website

Vernacular news content aggregator DailyHunt (Ver Se Innovation Pvt. Ltd) has raised $25 million in Series D funding led by ByteDance, a Beijing-headquartered content service provider that operates content platform Toutiao in China and TopBuzz in the US and Brazil, the company said in a statement on Saturday.

DailyHunt has also roped in former Vodafone chief executive officer Arun Sarin as a new investor, while existing investors Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Falcon Edge Capital and Omidyar Network, who have together pumped in at least $40 million into the business since October 2014, also participated.

Mint reported on 11 October that the company is in talks with investors for a fresh funding round and has already roped in Sarin as a new investor.

“Dailyhunt has grown by partnering with publishers, developers, advertisers and other ecosystem partners. We want to thank our partners for their support and reaffirm our commitment to the local language digital ecosystem. The investment by ByteDance, who has done this at scale, reinforces our belief in the opportunity. We look forward to learn from ByteDance on personalization and large scale machine learning to continue to offer a unique experience to our users,” Virendra Gupta, founder of Ver Se Innovation, said in a statement.

DailyHunt was initially started as NewsHunt by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2009 and sold to Ver Se Innovation in 2012. The company was rebranded DailyHunt in August 2015.

DailyHunt claims over 28 million monthly active users. The company serves content in 15 Indian languages and publishes more than 35,000 items every day. It records more than 4.5 billion monthly page views.

According to industry experts, the vernacular content aggregation is likely to open up a plethora of opportunities for DailyHunt. In a July study, the Boston Consulting Group said that the number of rural Internet users would swell from 120 million currently to about 315 million by 2020, close to a 30% jump year-on-year. By 2020, rural Internet users will comprise about 48% of the country’s overall Internet user base.

“We expect that more than half of all new Internet users will come from the rural communities and that rural users will constitute about half of all Indian Internet users in 2020,” the study said.

In an attempt to strengthen its position in the vernacular content segment, DailyHunt in July invested Rs.15 crore in OneIndia, a local language content provider owned by Rajesh Jain and B.G. Mahesh. In July 2015, the firm bought e-commerce price comparison and recommendation platform BuyT.in (Rocket Science Innovations Pvt. Ltd).

Also Read:

India: DailyHunt in talks with investors to raise $40m

India Dealbook: OneIndia, underDOGS, Dreamsworld Digital fund raise; Dailyhunt stake buy

This article was first published on Livemint.com

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.