American news startup Semafor open to entering India with local partner
American news media startup Semafor is looking to form partnerships with local firms to enter the Indian market. At the moment, foreign direct investment rules do not permit a foreign publication to run independently in the country.
Speaking to Economic Times, Semafor CEO and Co-founder Justin Smith said, “An Indian edition is very much our plan over time, and we look forward to partnering with a media company here to pursue that opportunity together."
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Semafor has offices in London, Washington DC, and New York. It also has a team based out of Africa. Smith said the company is looking sequentially launch coverage across the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
According to him, there is an opportunity to disrupt the foreign coverage of Western outlets such as CNN, New York Times, and The Washington Post. Instead of having foreign reporters, who are often from Western nations, Semafor plans to tie up with local firms or create local bureaus across the world for in-depth coverage of the world for Western audiences.
Semafor was founded earlier this year by CEO Justin Smith and Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith (not related). The former worked as Bloomberg Media's chief executive while the latter was a New York Times columnist and former Buzzfeed editor. They have raised $25 million in seed funding so far and plan to have a staff of 70 by the launch date in October.