Mobile news aggregator News In Shorts has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Times Internet, Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal and entrepreneurs Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar and Manish Dhingra, reports TechCircle.
The company plans to use the investment raised for improving their product, expanding its content for marketing. It had previously received a seed funding of Rs 10 lakhs (for 10% stake) while being part of TLabs’ fourth startup batch in September last year.
Started in August 2013 by Azhar Iqubal, Deepit Purkayastha and Anunay Arunav, News In Shorts aggregates news across various categories and offers a 60-word summaries to its users along with a link to the original article. It currently provides these summaries through an Android app with an iOS app expected next month.
We tried it on Nexus 4 and noticed that one can either flip through the top stories at the moment or head over to any specific news section like Technology or Entertainment section to browse through stories in that section. Interestingly, there is also a dedicated section for quirky news called “Hatke”.
Manual editors: News In Shorts mentions that it uses manual editors to pick news stories and summarize them for users. In a sense, this is quite similar to what Circa or Jason Calacanis’s Inside.com is doing on a global level.
There is Yahoo’s News Digest app that was built on top of Summly, the mobile news aggregation app Yahoo had acquired last year. However, Yahoo had mentioned that it uses a mixture of algorithm and manual editors to select the important articles and identify the important bits and pieces of information in the story.
Story sharing option can be irritating
Each story has a share button to allow users share that specific story with their friends and family, although strangely, we noticed that the app actually shares an image of the summarized bit to the recipient rather than the story link itself (We tried sharing it via WhatsApp, Gmail and SMS). This could turn out to be quite irritating for the recipient, since he will not have an option to view the original story.
One can login with their Facebook or Google account to customize their content settings like the ability to order items based on importance or freshness, view only unread items or view items for a specific period (last 24 hours, 3 days or a week). One can also select specific categories for which they want to receive push notifications for each new story.
News In Shorts also has a web version, although the focus seems to be on mobile apps, since the web version is quite barebones in terms of features and news categories.
Speed News: It’s worth noting that Times Internet (then Indiatimes) had launched an initative called Speed News for Times of India back in October 2010. This enabled reporters to publish short updates from various cities across India. While this initiative still exists, it doesn’t seem to have enough importance over the years.