The local language app, Bengaluru-based Dailyhunt, today raised $25 million in Series D funding led by ByteDance, a global tech company operating content platforms worldwide. Existing investors, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge, Omidyar and former CEO of Vodafone, Arun Sarin, participated in this round of funding.
Speaking of the investment, Virendra Gupta, Founder and CEO of Dailyhunt, said that they look to learn from the ByteDance team on personalisation and large-scale machine learning to continue offering a unique user experience.
"We are focussed on ensuring that our audiences get a great personalised experience when they come to the platform. We, therefore, will be using the funding to ensure that we incorporate machine learning into our product. We will also be focussed on brand building, strengthening our ad sales team and work towards acquiring more customers. Data will be the key in whatever we do. We will be driving strong focus towards audio and video content as well."
He added that they have grown by partnering with developers, partners, OEMs, advertisers, and other ecosystem partners. This support will help strengthen their aim in building a local language digital ecosystem.
The team claims to have over 28 million monthly active users and over 4.5 billion monthly page views. Dailyhunt is available in over 15 languages. The team claims that there are over 35,000 items published everyday on the platform.
Speaking of investing in Dailyhunt, Zhang Yiming, Founder and CEO of ByteDance, said that they believe in Dailyhunt’s long-term potential to be a leading mobile content platform. He added that Dailyhunt serves a massive unmet opportunity of providing local language content to Indian mobile users.
“Dailyhunt is addressing the next 400 million users who will be brought online by the coming explosion in data usage. We believe in their approach to work with every ecosystem player to bring the best content to the user,” said Zhang Yiming, in a press release sent by the company.
Mohit Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors, added that ByteDance is one of the hottest and fastest growing companies in the world and it is great to see Sequoia founders connect and collaborate across geographies.
In February last year, the company had raised Rs. 250 crore in series C funding led by New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital, and existing investors Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, and Omidyar Network also participated in this round of funding.
There are 200 million smartphone users in India. According to the BBC, a tenth of India’s population speaks English, which translates to around 120 million English speakers in the country. A large majority of the next 300 million users coming onto the mobile Internet platform would prefer to consume content in local languages.
The number of users from rural India alone is estimated to touch 280 million by 2018, which is almost the total population of the United States. It is also estimated that 90 percent of Internet access in rural areas will be through a mobile phone.
Thus it is no surprise, several players are getting into the local language game – ShareChat- India’s first social network in local languages, recently raised Series A funding from SAIF Partners. Other news aggregators like Tiger-backed InShorts, Way2News and Hike (News) are also focussing on local Indian languages.