Started as a Facebook page in 2013, NCR-based news aggregator app News In Shorts has crossed 1 lakh download mark on play store and is backed by some prominent names. This week, the startup has raised over INR 25 Cr. in a new funding round led by Tiger Global, and its existing investors.
Betting on sharing the whole news story in just sixty words, News In Shorts publishes about 60 articles per day and is growing aggressively to take it to upto 300 articles per day.
We caught up with Azhar Iqubal who is the Co-founder of News in Shorts for a small chit-chat on the fund raising and the overall journey of News in Shorts.
Here’s the excerpts:
Inc42: Tell us about the overall journey of News in Shorts, starting from a Facebook page till raising INR25 Cr?
Azhar: We started with a Facebook page on 1st of April 2013. We got decent traction there. Following this, we got selected for the 4th batch of TLabs. We initially launched a beta version of the android app in July, and on Sept 4th 2013, we came up with the final app. Things started to move, and we closed our seed round of funding in July 2014. The investment was led-by angel investors and mentors Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar, and Manish Dhingra and was participated by Sachin and Binny Bansal along with Times Internet.
Inc42: Co-founders, mentors and a team, all these play a crucial role in helping build a kickass product. How have been your experience so far?
Azhar: We all knew each other for more than 4 years. So, we share a pretty strong bonding. And, we are proud to have angel investors like Ankush, Gaurav, Manish, Sachin and Binny. Their understanding of the business world helped us in overcoming all the challenges we faced.
Related Article: News In Shorts Gets INR 25 Cr. From Tiger Global & Flipkart Founders
Inc42: Getting right investors on board is really a difficult task, can you share how you got Tiger Global on board? How difficult is it to raise funds for content businesses in India?
Azhar: We believe the difficulty lies in building the product, not in raising funds. There are good people to support if you are approaching the problem the right way.
Inc42: What are the key learnings for you while raising the recent funding round?
Azhar: Be genuine and open to share all the details. There is no meaning of hiding any information if you want to build a long term relationship with the investors.
Inc42: News In Shorts was also part of TLabs 4th batch, tell us about how was the overall journey while building your product in a accelerator?
Azhar: TLabs has played a key role in journey. We would love to thank Abhishek, Abhimanyu and Arpit for the help during the initial days.
Inc42: With number of players existing in the news curation, how do you foresee competition?
Azhar: Ease of use is the key differentiator between we and our competitors.
Inc42: Please share some recent stats of News In Shorts, app downloads, visitors etc.
Azhar: We crossed 100K download mark on play store in Dec 2014. With a rating of 4.6, we are probably the highest rated news app across play store.
Inc42: What all new can we expect on News In Shorts in the near future?
Azhar: Probably video and audio form of content.
Inc42: What can be the best possible exit for News In Shorts?
Azhar: We are currently focussed on building a great business and solving the problems of users. That is of utmost importance right now.
[Azhar Iqubal is the Co-founder of News in Shorts. Prior to that he worked as a summer trainee in S&P Capital IQ where he was involved in Auto Extraction Project. An IIT dropout, who wanted to do something which would change the way audience, read news in daily life. After realizing the fact that the youth today are spending more time on internet and not knowing the daily events, thus began the journey of providing news in just 60 words.]