Bengaluru: Vernacular news content aggregator DailyHunt (Ver Se Innovation Pvt. Ltd) has raised $25 million in Series D funding led by ByteDance, a Beijing-headquartered content service provider that operates content platform Toutiao in China and TopBuzz in the US and Brazil, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
DailyHunt has also roped in former Vodafone chief executive officer Arun Sarin as a new investor, while existing investors Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Falcon Edge Capital and Omidyar Network, who have together pumped in at least $40 million into the business since October 2014, also participated.
Mint reported on 11 October that the company is in talks with investors for a fresh funding round and has already roped in Sarin as a new investor.
“Dailyhunt has grown by partnering with publishers, developers, advertisers and other ecosystem partners. We want to thank our partners for their support and reaffirm our commitment to the local language digital ecosystem. The investment by ByteDance, who has done this at scale, reinforces our belief in the opportunity. We look forward to learn from ByteDance on personalization and large scale machine learning to continue to offer a unique experience to our users,” Virendra Gupta, founder of Ver Se Innovation, said in a statement.
DailyHunt was initially started as NewsHunt by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2009 and sold to Ver Se Innovation in 2012. The company was rebranded DailyHunt in August 2015.
DailyHunt claims over 28 million monthly active users. The company serves content in 15 Indian languages and publishes more than 35,000 items every day. It records more than 4.5 billion monthly page views.
According to industry experts, the vernacular content aggregation is likely to open up a plethora of opportunities for DailyHunt. In a July study, the Boston Consulting Group said that the number of rural Internet users would swell from 120 million currently to about 315 million by 2020, close to a 30% jump year-on-year. By 2020, rural Internet users will comprise about 48% of the country’s overall Internet user base.
“We expect that more than half of all new Internet users will come from the rural communities and that rural users will constitute about half of all Indian Internet users in 2020,” the study said.
In an attempt to strengthen its position in the vernacular content segment, DailyHunt in July invested Rs.15 crore in OneIndia, a local language content provider owned by Rajesh Jain and B.G. Mahesh. In July 2015, the firm bought e-commerce price comparison and recommendation platform BuyT.in (Rocket Science Innovations Pvt. Ltd).