Local language content distribution company Ver Se’ Innovation, the owners of NewsHunt, has secured Rs 120 crore funding from New York based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital, reports the Economic Times. Existing investors Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network also participated in this round.
The report adds that the investment may value the company between Rs 1,700 crore and 1,800 crore. In September 2014, the company announced a fund raising of Rs 100 crores, in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, with existing investors Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network also participating.
The funds will be used to build the platform for users first accessing mobile internet in languages like Tamil, Bengali and Telugu. NewsHunt plans to add more categories besides audio and video on the platform. It will work as a distribution platform for other players developing local language applications, besides partnering with existing players to offer commerce.
NewsHunt claims to have 75 million application installs, 1.7 billion page views and 10 million e-book downloads. The application now supports 12 languages and has over 100 publications. The company also says that it has an active user base of 17 million users and plans to increase the this to 100-200 million users in the coming years.
It’s worth remembering that NewsHunt was acquired by Ver Se’ Innovation from Rediff-backed Eterno Infotech in 2012. That said Ver Se’ did build upon the platform they acquired and integrated the iPayy payments solution that it had, via its relationships with telecom operators. They’ve brought on board ebooks and magazine singles.
At MediaNama’s #NAMA Indic event in Bangalore in July last year, Vishal Anand, Chief Product Officer of NewsHunt, mentioned a few interesting points about NewsHunt’s Indic language performance and said that when they tested Indic advertising, they found that the click through rates were double of English ads.