Bangalore-based social issues news website The Better India has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Infosys’ former member of the board of directors Mohandas Pai. Pai will also join the company’s board. The company told MediaNama that its current funding, along with its previous funding of $160,000 from members of angel network Intellecap Impact Investment Network including Raveen Sastry, co-founder of Myntra, and Sohil Shah will be used to ramp up their content, social media and partnership teams.
When asked about the team size, the company said that currently, it has an editorial team of 4 members and it is looking to double the team size in the next few months. It adds that over 50% of its traffic comes via mobile and it is working on launching a mobile app soon. The company claims that it sees engagement from readers with respect to skill sharing, donations or other help for almost every article it publishes.
Interestingly, The Better India ties up with companies to run content series about different issues through which it makes money. It says that instead of carrying press releases, it creates content pertaining to the social cause of the organisation. For example, The Better India had worked with Vodafone to create a series on “how the mobile phone is being used to drive social change”. The Better India adds that sponsored content is differentiated from other content by a disclaimer at the beginning of the article, however, the content needs to go through editorial evaluation before it is approved.
Founded by Dhimant Parekh and Anuradha Kedia in 2008, The Better India had said in March that it would use the then raised funds to scale traffic and possibly creating a long-term partnership with a “large” media or publication house. Investor Intellicap will own an equity stake in the company in lieu of its fees. The company had claimed to have over 500,000 visitors monthly and over 100 contributing writers across India.
Recent developments in the new media segment in India
– Last week, former editor of The Hindu, Siddharth Varadarajan, and one of the founding editors of DNA, Sidharth Bhatia, launched an online news publication called The Wire. Former editor of Time Out Delhi, Raghu Karnad, has also come on board as contributing editor. It has tied up with news agencies like Press Trust of India (PTI) and Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) for content and is apparently looking to raise Rs 10-12 crore in the next six months. The Wire will primarily focus on politics, economy, science, external affairs, law and culture.
– The Patrika Group will be soon be launching its first English news website called Catch. Catch will be New Delhi based and headed by ex-Tehelka founding member and journalist Shoma Chaudhary, where she will responsible for the news and content on the site.
– Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media’s mobile-focused digital venture The Quintwent live in March this year. Earlier in January, The Quint had started publishing stories on Facebook as a preview to the new service.
– Others in this space include Atlantic Media’s mobile-first digital publication Quartz, Samir Patil-led Scroll.in, Forbes India founding members led Founding Fuel, and five month old Huffington Post India among others.