Bangalore-based mobile news aggregation service, Newshunt, has raised $20 million (Rs. 123.4 crore), taking its cumulative fund raising to $40 million (Rs 246.8 crore). That includes around $ 19 million it raised in September last year. NewsHunt was founded in 2008 and was an early mover in the Indian mobile app ecosystem, cashing in on the smartphone boom in the country.
Virendra Gupta, founder and CEO, told the Hindustan Times that the NewsHunt app has been downloaded 75 million times so far. He said the money would be used to accelerate its plan to expand in local languages, develop technology and marketing. “Our aim is to become preferred choice in local news content,” he said.
NewsHunt is available in 12 languages in India and covers over 100 publications. It's also available in Bangladesh and some parts of Africa. In an interview to TechCrunch, Gupta emphasised how crucial the role of local languages is in an India-focused app because "English language literacy is just 10 percent in India."
NewsHunt does more than just conntent aggregation, however. In 2013, it launched an ebooks store. It also owns iPayy, a carrier billing service that has been used by over 4 million people so far.
“We are at the intersection of mobile and local languages,” Gupta said. “We are a made in India app for Indian users." Gupta has worked with telecom companies such as Airtel before starting his own company.
New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital led the latest round of funding while its existing investors Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network participated.