[Funding alert] Hyperlocal community news startup PublicVibe raises seed funding from IAN, Anthill, and Hyderabad Angels
Hyderabad-based vernacular hyperlocal news platform, PublicVibe (formerly NewsDistill), has raised a seed round of funding led by IAN investors Bikky Khosla (Board of Director) and Prashant Pahade (lead investor). As part of the investment, both Bikky and Prashant have joined the company board.
Others investors who participated in the round include Anthill Ventures and Hyderabad Angels.
The startup will leverage the capital infusion to scale in three more vernacular languages and to optimise its AI technological infrastructure to build vernacular hyperlocal community news platform at scale. It currently serves instant, personalised, and verified hyperlocal and international news in nine vernacular languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, and Gujarati through its AI-driven platform.
Speaking on the announcement, Narasimha Reddy, Co-founder, PublicVibe said,
“The Indian vernacular readership, which is already a huge consumer base, is growing. It will comprise nine out of 10 news readers by 2021, as per a Google report. Thus, our mission as a hyperlocal news platform is to serve this massive readership with instant and verified news content in local languages.”
Launched in 2015 by Narasimha Reddy, Veeram Reddy, Bhaskar Konda, and Sridhar Bandlamudi, PublicVibe is a mobile-first company, and is currently serving more than six million users in South India through its Android, iOS, and web applications. The startup sources its newsworthy content from popular publishers, public and ground level reporters, journalists, and the from the government.
In addition to its news content delivery, the AI-driven platform is also set to launch a hyperlocal advertising network in the future to support small businesses in connecting with potential consumers in the neighbourhood.
Speaking on the investment, Bikky Khosla, Lead Investor at IAN said,
“On account of only a few digital media houses currently serving vernacular content to the relevant demographic, there is a lot of scope for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to grow in this space. Given the commitment of team PublicVibe towards its venture, we are confident in the merit of our investment and wish them all the best.”
PublicVibe is also associated with digital platforms including Jio Browser, AppBrowser, Micromax, and Venus Browser, among others, as its news content partner.
This month, the Indian Angel Network led funding rounds in two other startups, including Delhi-based real time AR fashion tech startup StyleDotMe and Gurugram-based tech-driven PR solutions startup Wizikey.