Bangalore-based Ver Se Innovation Pvt Ltd, which owns mobile news aggregation platform NewsHunt has raised more than INR 100 Cr in its second round of funding led by Sequoia Capital India. Its existing investors Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network also participated in this round which has now valued NewsHunt at over INR 900 Cr.
NewsHunt (earlier Eterno Infotech) was launched in 2009 by former Nokia employees Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni and was later acquired by Ver Se in 2012. It had earlier raised undisclosed amount in funding from Matrix Partners, Omidyar Network and Darby Overseas Investments.
NewsHunt has partnered with more than 100 news publishers across the country to provide news stories in 12 languages that include Hindi, Tamil, Malayala and others with over 25,000 articles everyday.
“The era of the real Indian mobile Internet written and consumed in local language is just beginning,” said Verse Innovation founder and Chief Executive Virendra Gupta. “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.”
Started as an application for feature phones, and later expanded to smartphones NewsHunt app now has more than 50 Mn installs, 14 Mn monthly active users and over 1.5 Bn monthly page views. It plans to expand the active user base to 100-200 Mn a month in the coming years.
“The emergence of NewsHunt has been exciting to witness as an early and largest investor in the company,” said Rishi Navani, managing director of Matrix Partners.
Newsinshorts is yet another player operating in the same space.
Verse Innovation also has a proprietary payment platform iPayy, which is also being used by third-party developers for micro-transactions, currently it is integrated with 5 major telcos in India and is used by 300 digital goods merchants.