The round comes after funding discussions with Softbank fell through.
Bengaluru-based news aggregator site Dailyhunt has raised INR 1.8 billion (about US$23.4 million) in a Series G round of financing led by New York-based venture capital and hedge fund Falcon Edge.
According to government filings accessed by Inc42, Falcon Edge provided INR 718.5 million (US $9.3 million) funding towards the round, whereas participating investors ByteDance, Goldman Sachs, and Advent Capital Management invested INR 359.2 million (US$4.7 million) each.
The funding has come in after several months of negotiations with multiple investors, including over $100 million from Japanese debt-laden conglomerate Softbank, the report added. The investment from Softbank fell through following failures with WeWork and One Web, reports say. Dailyhunt did not respond to queries from Jumpstart.
ByteDance and Goldman Sachs previously invested in Dailyhunt’s $24.95 million Series F in August last year. The round included investments from Stonebridge Capital and Belgian investment company Sofina. Goldman Sachs and Sofina led the round.
Previously known as Newshunt, the platform was renamed Dailyhunt after its acquisition by Verse Innovations. The online site collects news from 1300 publication partners, sharing news in 14 different Indian vernacular languages. The startup’s valuation is expected to cross INR 41 billion (over US$500 million) with this round, Entrackr reports.
The print media industry in India has been reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic. Ad and circulation revenues have taken a hit with vendors unable to make deliveries due to lockdown restrictions in many areas, and the belief that newspapers can spread the infection because they undergo several exchanges of hand.
This development has led to a unique situation for broadcast and online media platforms. As a mobile first country, Indian citizens are more likely to have access to smartphones than television sets, creating big opportunities for online news platforms such as Dailyhunt.
The challenge will be to improve quality of access in non-urban areas. While the number of smartphone users as well as the rate of Internet penetration is increasing, users in non-urban areas of India are more likely to use their phones for basic communication functions such sending text messages.
To capitalize on the opportunity, online news media will need to bridge the gap. It will have to find its value proposition in the non-urban Indian markets, a quandary that very few players apart from social enterprises and social media platform TikTok have been able to crack.
In a segment that already has a handful of players apart from Dailyhunt, such as Inshorts, NewsDog, and ViralShot, this could be the competitive edge that puts one of these players in the market leader position.
Header image by Pressfoto on Freepik.