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Newshunt raises Rs 1 bn in Series B funding

MUMBAI: News and e-book application provider Newshunt, owned by Bengaluru-based Ver Se Innovation, has secured Series B funding of over Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion).

The new round of funding was led by Sequoia Capital India while existing investors Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network also participated.

The company will utilise the fund to expand its local-language services and add more publishers.

Newshunt provides a collection of Indian language newspapers and e-books with chapter-based magazines and e-book singles. The app is available for all mobile operating systems.

It offers news from over 100 news sources in 12 languages with over 25,000+ articles every day. With installed base of over 50 million users, Newshunt claims to be the destination for local-language mobile internet users with over 14 million monthly active users and over 1.5 billion page views monthly.

Newshunt claims that its recent foray into e-books has created a vibrant marketplace for publishers with over four million local-language e-books downloaded in the past six months. Users pay for downloads through Newshunt’s proprietary payment platform iPayy that is now also being used by third-party developers for micro-transactions.

“The era of the real Indian mobile internet written and consumed in local language is just beginning. We aim to serve local-language users and give them world-class products starting with Newshunt, e-books and iPayy. Our vision is to create a made-for-India platform and work closely with publishers, developers, OEMs and other ecosystem partners to digitise, distribute and monetise the consumption of local language. We invite passionate talent interested in building a truly Indian platform to become part of the journey,” said Newshunt co-founder and CEO Viru Gupta.

“For Matrix Partners India, the emergence of Newshunt has been exciting to witness as an early and largest investor in the company. Newshunt is the leading local-language mobile-only platform with a highly innovative, localised approach and business model. There is a significant opportunity ahead and Matrix Partners India is privileged to have been associated with Viru and the team over the past five years, and welcomes Sequoia to the Newshunt partnership,” said Matrix India co-founder and MD Rishi Navani.

“As India moves from a 100M to 500M smartphone user base, it is critical to bridge the gap of making available relevant content and apps for Indian-language users. Newshunt is a clear category leader for regional news, books and apps; and with its unique iPayy micro payments capability, it is best placed to become the leading digital goods company to its millions of customers,” said Sequoia Capital India Advisors MD Mohit Bhatnagar.