Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Dailyhunt eyeing $100 million in fresh funding

Bengaluru: Local language news aggregator Dailyhunt has hit the market to raise up to $100 million from new and existing investors, amid strong investor appetite for fast-growing content start-ups, two people familiar with the matter said. While Dailyhunt raised over $6 million in a bridge round of funding in September, the Bengaluru-based company is looking for fresh capital to build a war chest as it takes on newer, well-funded companies such as Tencent-backed NewsDog, Shunwei Capital-backed Sharechat and Toutiao’s Helo.

Formerly known as Newshunt, Dailyhunt (Verse Innovation Pvt. Ltd) started out as an aggregator of news from multiple newspapers. The company said earlier this month that it has more than 150 million monthly active users and 27 million daily users.

Dailyhunt didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Apart from a news aggregation platform in multiple regional languages, it provides original video content in Hindi and Telugu and a free live television streaming service in nine languages through strategic partnerships.

The company’s newest product is Newzly, a news excerpt mobile application that provides users customised trending headlines in nine languages.

In October 2016, Dailyhunt raised $25 million in a Series D funding round led by Beijing-based ByteDance. Other investors in Dailyhunt include Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Falcon Edge Capital and Omidyar Network.

In February, Dailyhunt, whose holding company was founded by Virendra Gupta, appointed former Facebook India and South Asia managing director Umang Bedi as president.

India’s burgeoning content space has been peppered with Chinese content apps over the last six months with the launch of social networking app called Helo and short video app TikTok—as these services ventured out of China after saturating their local market. Helo and Tik Tok owner Bytedance, also an investor in Dailyhunt, is currently the most valuable startup in the world.

Experts tracking the Indian content space believe that the new addition of Chinese content apps in India and the amount of money being spent by them can pose problems for home-grown players such as Dailyhunt and ShareChat.

“The real challenge in the market is that Chinese apps have launched in India and are spending a lot of money on celebrities and endorsements. At the same time, Facebook apps such as Instagram have launched in Hindi," said an investor, requesting anonymity. “These two factors are going to make it difficult for home-grown players."

TikTok is expected to burn approximately $10 million a month, according to industry estimates. Dailyhunt also faces competition from Alibaba-backed UC News and news and entertainment content aggregator NewsDog.

In May, NewsDog said it raised $50 million in a Series C funding round led by Tencent Corp., in one of the largest start-up deals in the news and entertainment content space.

Content startups have become investor favourites this year, as funds are betting that these start-ups will be able to attract tens of millions of users, and someday convince advertisers to spend big on their platforms, Mint reported in August.

But while social networking and video content startups have become popular with users and investors alike, their ability to generate revenues is unclear in the age of Google and Facebook, both of which continue to dominate India’s 12,000 crore online advertising market.

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