Content aggregator NewsDog has raised $50 Mn Series C funding in a round led by Tencent, in participation with DHVC, Legend Capital, and Dotc United Group. The NewsDog platform has been developed in Hong Kong for India.
The company plans to use the funding to pursue its vision of empowering individuals and professional content creators to showcase their work and reach digital readers in large numbers. It is also adopting blockchain technology to grow faster and make the content ecosystem transparent.
Commenting on the development, Forrest Chen, NewsDog’s founder and CEO, said, “The Indian digital content industry is just getting started. Polyculture and multiple languages make content matching an incredibly hard problem. We believe that strong machine learning capabilities will be pivotal in scaling content platforms in India.”
NewsDog currently has two offices in India, in Pune and Gurugram, and plans to set up offices throughout the country in 2018. The content aggregator aims at doubling its employee strength as it targets the next one billion Indian users.
Yi Ma, co-founder and COO of NewsDog, added, “After the new round of financing, the company’s expansion plans will focus on two aspects. One is to create a more dynamic content platform for users by enriching localised experience by adding more regional languages. The other is to constantly buttress our technical capabilities in order to provide users with a more personalised experience.”
NewsDog has been known for its advanced machine learning capabilities that enable a personalised content feed for users, in line with their preferences. It records more than 50 Mn users and is available in 10 local languages.
On the investment, Forest Lin, managing partner of Tencent Investments, said, “NewsDog combines its leading technical capabilities with its deep pool of entertainment content to provide Indian users a personalised experience.”
NewsDog also launched a content platform called WeMedia allowing users to submit content. Till now, there are more than 30K writers contributing content regularly.
Recent research by Omidyar Network India suggests that 70% of the time a user spends online is spent on social and entertainment apps, 38% of them on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
With Whatsapp at 200 Mn users and Facebook aiming for 350 Mn, India is becoming one of the fastest adopters of social media for online communication.
A report entitled Mobile Internet in India 2017 estimates the number of mobile Internet users in India to reach 478 Mn by June 2018. With such deep Internet penetration in India, digital media has been a growing phenomenon in India.
The country’s media and entertainment (M&E) sector is poised to touch $45.1 Bn by 2021, expanding at a CAGR of over 10.5%. A PwC report revealed that the segment has undergone substantial progress since 2016, when its valuation stood at $27.3 Bn.
With a huge addressable market, NewsDog holds the key to the market with its content customisation platform.