Two analysts join hands to make content distribution simpler with Hubhopper

10th Jun 2017
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Mumbai-based Hubhopper is a content aggregator platform that connects the publisher and the consumer. It helps with discovery and publishing.

Gautam Raj Anand, senior risk analyst at Barclays Bank, and Uday Raj Anand, senior analyst at Bain & Co, in their field of meeting people and looking at the space observed a gap between content publishers, and content consumers.

The duo noticed that, while content is all over the internet, it is still a challenge for someone to find the right content they are looking for. The content consumer had to incur heavy costs in the form of time, energy, and money (data) to access desirable content.

Moreover, the content creator is also not able to reach out to his/her consumer. This is how the idea to create a universal platform for publication and consumption of all kinds of content—visual, written, AV, and multimedia—took shape. Gautam and Uday founded Hubhopper—a content aggregator, discovery, and publishing platform.

The team at Hubhopper.

How does it work?

The idea was to build a seamless bridge that pushes curated and relevant content to the consumer and a whole array of tools to the content creator to reach out to the audience. The users get to be in complete control of the content they want to view.

“Hubhopper saves all users, who have a multitude of interests, the time, effort, and search cost incurred with consuming content from platforms on different domains,” says Gautam.

Hubhopper also provides content creators of all sizes, the ability to disseminate their content in a manner, which would otherwise be difficult for them to create internally.

Gautam adds that, with Hubhopper, small publishers do not have to worry about creating an online platform, user experience, and other hassles. Medium and large size publishers need not be bothered about data collection, team management, targeting, and driving traffic.

For the consumer, Hubhopper provides a personalised social magazine that acts as a one-stop shop for diverse content from varied sources. It saves its users both the search cost and time commitment.

“Being a social content app, it allows the user to like, love, follow and do other cool things. In nutshell, it is short, beautiful, ephemeral, social and understands what you're looking for,” adds Gautam.

Hubhopper enables the content creators to focus on what they are best at—‘Content creation’ while it takes care of delivery, targeting, analytics, design, click backs and optimizations, all the way to eventually giving publishers a share of the ad revenue it makes.

Challenges

The task however wasn’t easy. One of the biggest challenge was dispelling the belief of how sustainable, long-lasting startups cannot be built in the space without heavy investments and funding.

Gautam adds that since both Uday and he had a background in economics, banking and analytics, they decided to build a business model that borrows from old-world wisdom and new tech models. Gautam says,

“We have kept the cash burn rate extremely low. But we are quick to adopt new technology that adds value to our offering. The Hubhopper team is guided by a board of advisors comprising of veterans from startup, e-commerce, VC, banking, BPO and technology sectors. The strength of Hubhopper lies in its long gestation process in understanding the pain points for users online and pain points for content publishers.”

Another challenge was hiring the right team that aligned with their business. In the beginning, it was difficult to attract the right kind of people, but with time they have taken into and retained talent. Today, Hubhopper is 30-people strong.

Gautam also mentions that Hubhopper was recently recognised as the Problem Solver of the Year and made it to the second spot in the elite list of Hottest 100 Startups in India. These are now triumphs to cherish.

“We are the only pre-revenue company to be honoured with this recognition. We have also been rated the 33rd best Social app globally on the Google Playstore (4.7 rating), topping other leading social apps,” adds Gautam.

Team and funding

Hubhopper has a team of advisors that includes Sanjeev Bhikchandani (Co-founder,

Infoedge India), Sanjeev Lamba (CEO, Reliance Entertainment and Board Member Hungama), Raman Kapur (Founder, Avana Systems and Foundation’s Edge), Raman Roy (CEO, Quattro and Father of Indian BPO), Jaideep Krishna (MD, Aark Global Ltd. and former CEO of Cerberus Global Fund), and Surendra Daulet Singh (Former CEO, British Bank of the Middle East (HSBC Group) & Managing Director of GKR).

Since its inception, Hubhopper has raised three rounds of angel funding. Though it is now intentionally pre- revenue, it is functioning like a SaaS platform for content publishers — it offers them different plans to optimize their channels

Hubhopper has over 40 publisher channels (like WION News and Universal). Its main revenue streams include—SaaS platform with paid plans for publishers, advertorial content, advertising, call-to-action advertising, paid industry specific content, promoted content, premium content to be introduced soon.

Differentiators

Today several content aggregation platforms are working to ensure that content consumers and publishers meet each other. In India, top such platforms include, Tiger Global backed InShorts, and Dailyhunt, which recently raised Series D funding of $25 million. There also is Flickstree, which was a part of Facebook’s FbStart programme.

However, Gautam believes that unlike pre-existing content disseminating platforms, Hubhopper opens its technology to all content publishers who wish to leverage it. It disseminates their content, and in the process, targets and understands their users better, in real time.

“With the launch of Hubhopper Channel—each content creator can have his/her exclusive channel on which all the previous content published on Hubhopper can be viewed and accessed.”

Additionally, the Hubhopper algorithm guarantees 5,000 new subscribers per month,” says Gautam.

Future plans

Agnostic to size and type of content publishers, Hubhopper gives everyone a space to reach their consumers and optimize on a platform which, if created internally, would cost them huge time, money, and effort. It acts as a new revenue-generating platform for publishers earning through advertorial content.

Hubhopper takes real time micro engagement data from its users to continuously optimize their content consumption experience and, in the process, saves the time they would have otherwise spent wading through the Internet.

Gautam adds that they are now working towards gradual growth, but are looking to on board over 150 publishers this year, build on user experience through the data collected, include multi-language channels and other features, and also tie up with phone companies for a native embed.

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