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ByteDance and Falcon Edge participate in a USD 23.5 million round in Indian news aggregator Dailyhunt

Dailyhunt claims to have over 252 million monthly active users and over 51 million daily active users.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Bengaluru-based vernacular news aggregator Dailyhunt has raised USD 23.5 million from existing investors including ByteDance, Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, and Advent Management in the ongoing Series G round.

According to the documents filed with the Indian government, while Facon Edge has pumped in USD 9.36 million (INR 71.85 crore), Bytedance, Goldman Sachs Asia, and Advent Management Belgium have invested USD 4.6 million each into the company. Dailyhunt has allotted a total of 138,000 Series G1 convertible preference shares to its investors.

According to a local media Entrackr, the 12-year-old startup’s valuation has crossed half a billion mark at USD 542.8 million.

The company, which also counts Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network as its backers, has long been on the radar of global investors. Last year, it was reportedly in talks with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank for raising about USD 150 million. Meanwhile, according to DealStreetAsia, private equity firm Carlyle had also shown interest to buy an equity stake in the news aggregator.

Prior to this round, the company had raised USD 3 million from Cayman Islands-based Stonebridge Capital and USD 22 million from Belgium-based Sofina SA mid-last year in its Series F round.

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The fresh funding comes at a time when demand for bite-sized news, informational, and digital content has soared as millions of Indians are forced to stay indoors due to the nationwide lockdown implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

American media measurement and analytics company Comscore, said, while “the traffic to websites and mobile apps in the ‘General News’ category in India was showing an increasing trend ever since the news of the pandemic started, things accelerated in the second half of March 2020.” Within the first week of the nationwide lockdown that started on March 25, the visits to digital new websites and apps saw a sudden spike.

“Compared with the week of March 16-22, 2020, visits increased by 30% during the week of March 23-29, 2020,”  Comscore said in a blog post. The visits were up by 97% when compared to the week of February 10 to 16 this year.

Dailyhunt was founded by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2007, which was later acquired by Ver Se Innovation Pvt. Ltd in 2012. Initially known as Newshunt, Ver Se rebranded it as Dailyhunt in August 2015.

The company has partnered with over 1300 publications and claims to aggregate over 250,000 news and non-news content every day in 14 Indian languages. It also offers original vernacular video content and a free live television streaming service with more than 130 channels across nine languages through strategic media partnerships.

Out of India’s 725 districts (geographical sub-division of a state), the company has a presence in over 400 districts. Currently, Dailyhunt claims to have over 252 million MAUs and 51 million-plus daily active users, who spend over 27 minutes on the platform per day, according to the company’s official Linkedin profile.