A few weeks ago, in a panel discussion with journalists, editors and and new media heads, InShorts co-founder and CEO Azhar Iqbual had this to say on how it would make money:
InShorts currently does not make any money. We’re right now working only of venture capital money. There’s no particular revenue model… Right now, our main focus is trying to get eye balls on Inshorts and make sure people read our summaries as they don’t have time.
@tsuvik “we’re all on VC money now. We have no idea how to make money”
— Shashidhar KJ (@lomirgenii1988) March 31, 2016
— Vikas SN (@tsuvik) March 31, 2016
It seems that InShorts have finally figured out a revenue model. The company has signed partnerships with five ecommerce companies – Zomato, Bookmyshow, Tripigator, CarDekho and BikeDekho – and will provide branded content for the same.
“Our monetisation roadmap is going to be based on combining brand centric content with the power of personalisation. In effect, we hope to solve the problem brands face in reaching the right customers. Brand partnerships like these are the first steps in that direction and the response from our users has also been very encouraging,” Iqbual said in a statement.
In addition, InShorts has also partnered with over 30 publishers to position itself as a content distribution platform. The publishers include: Sportskeeda, Catch News, MotorScribes, Indian Express Group, India Today Group, The Guardian, Outlook, Reuters, PTI, ANI, The Next Web, Trak.in, Bloomberg, Inc42, The News Minute, TechCrunch, Engadget, Social Cops, 91mobiles, The Better India, ScoopWhoop, Finimize, Milaap, SME Times, VakilSearch, Factly, India Infoline, North-east today, Autoblog, CillyPoint and Product Hunt.
Funnily enough, missing from the list are publications from the Times of India group. The Times of India group’s Internet arm, Times Internet*, along with other investors had invested an undisclosed amount in July 2014. It had previously received funding of Rs 10 lakhs (for 10% stake) while being part of TLabs’ fourth startup batch in September 2013.
Started in August 2013 by Azhar Iqubal, Deepit Purkayastha and Anunay Arunav, InShorts aggregates news across various categories and offers 60-word summaries to its users along with a link to the original article.It currently provides these summaries through an Android and iOS app. Readers can also opt in for push notifications.
InShorts funding: In July 2015, InShorts raised raised $20 million from Tiger Global in a Series B funding. It had previously raised raised $4 million through a Series A round led by Tiger Global, with participation from Rebright Partners of Japan and existing angels Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar, Manish Dhingra and Flipkart Founders Sachin and Binny Bansal.
Hindi interface: In November 2015, InShorts launched a Hindi interface for its Android app. The platform mentioned that it would expand to other regional languages including Marathi, Tamil and Kannada by mid 2016.
Retention.ai acquisition: In October last year, InShorts acquired Bangalore/Palo Alto-based BetaGlide, the company which offers Retention.ai, a product that helps developers track uninstalled users, draw insights based on user experience and improve user retention. The company said it would use the acquisition to roll-out features like a recommendation engine, an in-house data analytics team etc.
*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with MediaNama