NewsDog, an India-focused news and entertainment platform, on Tuesday announced that it has successfully completed its Series C funding round, raising $50 million, led by global internet company Tencent, followed by DHVC, Legend Capital and Dotc United Group.
NewsDog was launched in early 2016 by Forrest Chen, a Tsinghua University graduate, and a serial entrepreneur, and Yi Ma, a Princeton University Ph.D., and former Baidu and Goldman Sachs employee.
It enables personalised content feed for users, matching their preferences. The company claims to have over 50 million users, and is available in ten local languages. NewsDog has also launched a content platform called WeMedia, which allows users to submit content.
The company plans to use the money raised to pursue its vision of empowering individuals and professional content creators to showcase their work and reach the digital mass public. The company is adopting blockchain technology to grow faster and make the content ecosystem transparent.
“Indian digital content industry is just getting started. Polyculture and multiple languages make content matching an incredibly hard problem. We believe that strong machine learning capabilities will be pivotal in scaling content platforms in India,” said Forrest Chen.
“So far, we have made good initial progress, but content business is like an endless journey. There is no finish line, you have to just keep running," he adds.
“After the new round of financing, the company’s expansion plans will focus on two aspects,” added Yi. “One is to create a more dynamic content platform for users by enriching localised experience by adding more regional languages. The other is to constantly buttress our technical capabilities in order to provide users with a more personalised experience."
“NewsDog combines its leading technical capabilities with its deep pool of entertainment content to provide Indian users a personalised experience,” said Forest Lin, Managing Partner of Tencent Investments. “We look forward to supporting NewsDog to become India's favourite online entertainment platform.”
NewsDog currently has two offices in India - in Pune and Gurugram, and plans to set up offices throughout the country in 2018. The content aggregating app company aims at doubling its employee strength as it targets a billion Indian users.
The company is building a content ecosystem around text, image, and video. The app is tailor-made for low-cost smartphones, which comprise a majority of smartphone sales in the country.