News and entertainment aggregating start-up NewsDog has raised $50 million in funding led by Chinese internet giant Tencent. Investors such as Legend Capital, DHVC, and Dotc United Group also participated in the funding round.
The latest round of funding will be used to create more dynamic content with localised experience and adding more regional languages to the platform, the company said in a statement. The mobile-based application already collates articles in English and 10 Indian languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.
“Indian digital content industry is just getting started. Poly culture and multiple languages make content matching an incredibly hard problem. We believe that strong machine learning capabilities will be pivotal in scaling content platforms in India.” said NewsDog Founder and CEO Forrest Chen.
The company is also adopting blockchain technology make the content ecosystem transparent. Launched in 2016, it currently has 50 million users which it aims to double by the end of the year.
India is witnessing a sharp rise in news content start-ups with investments also picking up. In December last year, Tiger Global backed content discovery app Inshorts had raised $5 million funding. In 2016, Bengaluru-based local language app Dailyhunt had raised $25 million funding led by global tech company ByteDance. Other players in the sector include Flipboard, Hindi news app Khabri, Newsbyte and Zuppit.
As India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, it is also a leader in app downloads.
According to app analytics and market data company App Annie, China will remain the number 1 market in 2022 in terms of app downloads, rising to 119 billion, with India at the second position forecast to experience massive growth as downloads are expected to increase 208 per cent in the next five years.
In 2017, Indians downloaded 12 billion apps on their phones which will jump to 37 billion by 2022.