Gurugram-based digital news and media startup NewsBytes has raised around ₹7.2 crores ($1 million) in pre-series A funding. The round was led by Germany-based MM Inno GmbH, an investment arm of publishing firm Mueller Medien, along with US-based Powerhouse Ventures.
Other existing investors that participated in the round include Mumbai Angels, an angel investment network. As a part of the deal, Peter Kabel, representative of Mueller Medien and Founding Partner at AECAL.de, would be joining the board of the media startup.
Sumedh Chaudhry, Co-Founder, NewsBytes, said, “The funds will be utilised to expand our technology team, support our growing footprint, establish the Hindi and other vernacular desks, and venture into video-based content.”
The funds will also be used to strengthen the AI engine used to curate news on the platform. NewsBytes was founded by Shikha Chaudhry, Sumedh Chaudhry, and Romesh Khaddar in 2015. The startup provides an explanatory journalism portal that leverages its AI engine to curate and deliver relevant and meaningful content to its users.
The startup was incubated by GSF Accelerator and also received an investment of $50,000, it has grown to a team of 24 employees. The startup last raised an undisclosed amount of funds from ah! Ventures, an Indian investment firm, in April 2017, according to Crunchbase. Other players in the vernacular news domain in India competing with NewsBytes include Bengaluru-based Dailyhunt, NewsDog, InShorts, and Lokal, among many others.
According to a KPMG and Google study in April 2017, titled “Indian Languages: Defining India’s Internet”, Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% to reach 536 million by 2021, compared to merely 199 million English language users by 2021. NewsBytes is looking to leverage the growing opportunity in the vernacular domain by offering quality content to its users.