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Exclusive: AI-Based Podcast And News Curator Hubhopper Raises Funds

Exclusive: AI-Based Podcast And News Curator Hubhopper Raises Funds

With This Funding, Content Aggregator Hubhopper Aims To Expand Its Team As Well As Improve Its AI-Based Recommendation Platform

Delhi-based podcasts and publishers-focused content aggregator Hubhopper has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Mumbai-based venture capital firm Unit-E Ventures.

An AI-based Saas platform, Hubhopper plans to use the funding to expand its team, work on its recommendation platform, redemption, and marketing plans.

Prior to this, Hubhopper raised three angel rounds of funding from investors such as Surendra Daulet Singh, managing director, GKR; Daulet Singh, former CEO, British Bank of the Middle East (HSBC Group); Sanjeev Lamba, former-CEO, Reliance Entertainment; Raman Kapur, founder, Avana Systems; and Jaideep Krishna of Aark Global, a Hong Kong-based private investment group.

Hubhopper: From A Social Network To A Content Aggregation Platform

Brothers Gautam and Uday Raj Anand launched Hubhopper first as a social network in 2015 and then transformed it into a content aggregation and publishing platform in 2017 to bridge the gap between content consumers and content creators.

The 25-member Hubhopper team does not distinguish between big and small content publishers. With impressions of over 2 Mn, the startup has built a base of more than 400K-500K monthly active users in the past six months.

The startup has also been a part of the Apple accelerator programme, which helped the founders in growing their product and improving their skill set with regard to user interface guidelines, including understanding how a user is going to interact with the product every time, and more.

Challenges In The Content creation And Distribution Segment

As a destination for content publishers as well as content consumers, Hubhopper has taken the onus to address the concerns of both the parties.

Talking about content publishers, Gautam told Inc42 that most content creators are fantastic at creating content — be it an individual blogger or YouTube vlogger or a well-known publication. But, creating content is a small part of the overall business scaling pattern.

He believes that factors such as targeting, segmentation, performance, CRM (client relationship management), and UX are important aspects that hard for small and mid-level publishers to manage.

This is where Hubhopper tries to fill the gap by helping publishers track user activity through source clicks, impressions versus page views/clicks, optimal interaction times, popular action on content being shared, etc taking place on their channel.

Publishers can pay a subscription fee to access all of this data on a dashboard and gain insights from it to increase their returns in terms of the churn of the readers on the platform. Gautam further explained that Hubhopper helps publishers increase their revenues along with the monthly active user rate, based on its subscription model.

“It is a sort of targeting and retargeting aspects of the customer cycle to be taken care of,” Gautam explained.

The other pain point the company addresses for consumers is helping them filter the massive content which is available online. For consumers, Hubhopper takes user interests into account to personalise content from more than 100 publishers and podcast channels.

The Hubhopper app (available on both iOS and Android) saves consumers time and effort — as well as space on their devices — by bringing together short, digestible, personalised content in one unified view.

Personalised Content Aggregation Space In India

A report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said that the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry would nearly double in size to $123 Bn (INR 8 Tn)  by 2022, clocking a CAGR of 11-12% between 2016 and 2022.

In the short news aggregation space, there are players like Dailyhunt’s newly launched app Newzly, Noida-based content discovery app Inshorts; Mumbai-based PIPES, and GSF-backed Newsbyte, which aims to filter the most relevant news for its readers from all the available news and sources and provide it in a contextual timeline.

Startups such as Tenreads and Murmur are also growing fast in this space.

Hubhopper also faces competition from larger content aggregators such as Flipboard, UC News, Google News, Apple News, and others.

A Truthout article chronicles the rise of content marketing, which is expected to reach $313 Bn globally by 2019, double of what it was in 2014.

Gautam wants to Hubhopper be “the leading player in the forms of new media, new content, in forms of content that don’t necessarily fit the archetype of the way people are consuming today in India.”

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