Tencent leads $50 million funding round in vernacular app NewsDog
Gurugram-headquartered vernacular news app NewsDog has raised $50 million (Rs. 340 crore) in Series C funding led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.
Other investors include California-based VC firm DHVC, Chinese VC company Legend Capital, and Hong Kong-based app developer Dotc United Group.
NewsDog is allegedly one of the fastest growing content aggregator apps on the Google Play Store since its debut in 2016.
Tencent invests in local content aggregator app NewsDog
The content aggregator app collates short-form news stories
Founded by Chinese entrepreneurs Forrest Chen and Yi Ma, and owned by Hong Kong-based Hacker Interstellar, NewsDog curates short-form news stories in English and vernacular Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi.
The app currently claims to have 50 million users across 10 languages.
It has been downloaded 10 million times on the Google Play Store.
Indian digital content industry is just getting started: NewsDog
NewsDog also has a user-generated content platform called WeMedia, to which over 30,000 writers currently contribute. The app also provides localized entertainment content like latest updates on Tamil, Bollywood, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali movies. Notably, the company is looking to soon double its employee strength.
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NewsDog uses machine learning to personalize the content feed
"The company's expansion plans will focus on two aspects. One is to create a more dynamic content platform by enriching localized experience and adding more regional languages. The other is to constantly buttress our technical capabilities in order to provide users with a more personalized experience," said Ma.
The company is also reportedly adopting blockchain technology to make its content ecosystem more transparent.
NewsDog's focus on local languages differentiates it from competition
While NewsDog does content curation in English, its English language user base is relatively small. The company primarily competes with Bengaluru-based DailyHunt and Noida-based Inshorts. Other players in the short-form news aggregation market include UC News and NewsBytes.