Verse Innovation Pvt. Ltd, who is a parent company of vernacular focused app Newshunt, has raised Rs. 250 crore in series C funding led by New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital. Existing investors Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India and Omidyar Network also participated in this round of funding. In September 2014, Newshunt had raised Rs. 100 Cr in series B.
Newshunt is the platform of choice for local language mobile Internet users with over 75 million downloads till date. It has the widest collection of regional content in over 12 languages for local language users in India across app stores. Newshut aggregates content from 100 news sources with over 25,000+ articles everyday.
The next 500 million mobile Internet users that will emerge in India will largely be local language first - they will create and consume content and services in local languages. Our vision is to be a dominant part of their first Internet experience and serve these users with world-class products starting with Newshunt, eBooks, iPayy and many more to come. As part of this journey, we wish to partner with the entire local language ecosystem and work with passionate and talented entrepreneurs in building the first real, large scale Made in India, Made for India platform. We are excited to welcome Falcon Edge to Newshunt as we continue to further grow our platform, said Virendra Gupta, founder and CEO of Newshunt
The recent foray into eBooks, providing a world class experience in local languages, has created a vibrant marketplace for publishers with over 10 million local language eBooks downloaded till date by over 2 million users, 40% of which are paid users. Users pay for downloads through Newshunt’s proprietary payment platform iPayy that is now also being used by third party developers for micro-transactions through carrier billing. In the last six months, almost 4 million unique customers have used the iPayy platform for payments.Regarding the Newshunt investment Vikram Vaidyanathan, Managing Director, Matrix Partners India said
We're privileged to be associated with Viru and the team at Newshunt and iPayy. We believe the local language Internet is set for an inflection and Newshunt will be at the center of this ecosystem. We encourage all stakeholders in the ecosystem to partner with Newshunt to create new digital content and services, get them discovered and monetized through this platform. We welcome Falcon Edge to the Newshunt partnership.
Newshunt's carrier billing platform iPayy for micro-transaction, gives local merchants a way to price their products anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 500 by integrating across multiple telecom operators in India — with access to 700M subscribers across 5 major telcos in India and currently used by 300 digital goods.