Digital media startup FactorDaily has raised $1 million in seed funding from Blume Ventures, Accel Partners and Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma in his personal capacity, the company told MediaNama. It will use the funds for its technology and on talent (like employee salary costs etc.).
FactorDaily’s target audience is
20-22 year old English speaking Indian urban youth (update: these include people from 20-22 year olds to mid career executives and entrepreneurs who are millennials, or who have the millennial mindset) “hungry for insights about disruption and how to cope with it.” The company mentions that it takes inspiration from The Verge, Wired and the Vox Media Group in terms of products and company evolution. FactorDaily was started by former Economic Times journalists Pankaj Mishra (editor in chief and CEO) and Jayadevan PK (managing editor) along with Titash Neogi (CTO) in January this year.
It has also brought on board senior business journalist and editor Josey John as a consulting editor. Mishra has previously worked with TechCrunch, Mint, IDG Media, The CTO Forum, Indian Express and Asia Computer Weekly, while Jayadevan has worked with NextBigWhat and the New Indian Express. Neogi previously founded Themeefy and has worked with Bookmachine.me, Symantec and CNK Networks.
The FactorDaily website went live this week, but the company has been posting articles on Facebook, Medium and LinkedIn for a couple of weeks now. It plans to focus on four particular sections: companies, lifestyle, culture and future.
Focus on Messenger newsbot
FactorDaily announced a Facebook Messenger news bot last week. Neogi, who’s the CTO of the company, says that conversations with computers (human computer interactions) were previously possible only by programmers but now, the convergence of chat platforms, artificial intelligence and API driven web infrastructure means that chatbots can do all these things by ‘natural language conversations’.
Chatbots to drive higher ROI
Neogi adds that newsbots can let digital media engage with every user better than cookies or tracking mechanisms. He says that given chatbots are primarily mobile, news companies can provide viewing, push notifications and sharing without letting users download apps. With newsbots, the company has the opportunity for a higher return on investment Neogi says.
Mishra told MediaNama over a phone conversation that FactorDaily considers its technology as its biggest bet. He says that the company’s focus on the 4 factors will concentrate on selective new economy, internet and disruptor companies, game changing technology in lifestyle and culture, life and society. For its future domain, it plans to identify and write or make videos about ‘upcoming disruptors’.
As of now, the company does not plan to monetise its product (it’s going to treat every story as a product), instead focusing on building stories and introduce advertising after a year. Mishra said that FactorDaily has some advertising hacks it will work on, because the current advertising model (in the market) is broken. Mishra says, “The homepage is dead and one can’t rely on banner ads and traditional advertising to monetise. We might even pursue branded content and events, but our current focus remains the product.”
Mishra says that 5 out of its 10 employees currently are engineers. On being asked why, Mishra said, “The engineering mindset is important in building a great product. Because of having people with engineering backgrounds, we can use the engineering mindset for our stories and videos.” As of now, the company uses a WordPress theme for its website, and Mishra adds that the website is just one of its interfaces. It plans to focus heavily on its newsbot and also use other platforms to publish stories (especially relating to lifestyle and consumer facing stories).