India: Sequoia, Omidyar back $3.5m funding in news aggregator Dailyhunt

Dailyhunt CEO Virendra Gupta (right) with his team at the Bengaluru office. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Regional language news aggregator Dailyhunt has raised Rs 24.61 crore in a Series E2 funding round amid investor interest in rapidly growing content content startups. The company faces stiff competition from Chinese news aggregators, including Tencent-backed NewsDog and Toutiao’s Helo.

Omidyar Network, Sequoia Capital and the Renu Sehgal Trust participated in the round, according to documents sourced from intelligence platform Paper.VC. Omidyar’s domestic arm has been an active investor in publishing platform Pratilipi and Helofy among other content platforms.

Dailyhunt has already raised Rs 36.9 crore in an earlier Series E2 funding round from Singapore-based venture capital firm LightVC, which brings the total fundraising to Rs. 61.51 crore.

Dailyhunt (Verse Innovation Pvt. Ltd) was founded in 2007 by Virendra Gupta, a master’s graduate from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Mumbai. Formerly known as Newshunt, the platform started as an aggregator of news from multiple newspapers.

Last year, the company appointed former Facebook India and South Asia managing director Umang Bedi as president.

The company claims to be the fastest in terms of onboarding new users. It had more than 150 million monthly active users and 27 million daily users, announced the company.

Apart from news aggregation, the platform has a major focus on aggregating video content. It provides original video content in Hindi and Telugu and a free live television streaming service in nine languages through strategic partnerships.

Regional language content platforms, which still don’t have any plans for monetization, have seen huge investor interest. The bet is on the new internet users coming from tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

By 2021, the Indian language users will comprise 75% of the internet base, according to a report released by Google and KPMG.

Over the last eight months, new internet users have pegged interest of not only Indian investors but also Chinese ones. Beijing-headquartered Bytedance launched its flagship products Tiktok and Helo, which have been giving Indian players a run for their money. Bytedance, the world’s most valued start-up, is also an investor in Dailyhunt.

TikTok is expected to burn approximately $10 million a month, according to industry estimates. Dailyhunt also faces competition from Alibaba-backed UC News and news and entertainment content aggregator NewsDog.

Experts tracking the Indian content space believe that the addition of Chinese content apps in India and the amount of money being spent by them can pose problems for home-grown players such as Dailyhunt and ShareChat.

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