Ver Se Innovations, which operates vernacular content and news aggregation platform Dailyhunt, has raised $34.7 million from James Murdoch-led private investment firm Lupa India Systems.
The capital infusion is part of an ongoing growth-stage fundraise, dubbed Series G round, according to the Bengaluru-based company’s regulatory filings.
DailyHunt has allotted 2,05,523 Series G3 preference shares and 10 equity shares to Lupa India Systems at Rs 12,995.84 per share, the filings showed.
This is the New York and Mumbai headquartered Lupa’s second investment in India. Earlier in January, it acquired a majority stake in edtech startup Harappa Education.
Founded in 2019 by James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Lupa Systems has also invested in companies such as Tribeca Enterprises, Vice Media and The Void. Its India unit is headed by former Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja.
The development comes close on the heels of the company securing $22.5 million in a growth round led by Falcon Hedge Capital, two weeks ago. Beijing-based content aggregator Byte Dance, private equity firm Advent Management and investment bank Goldman Sachs had also participated in the round.
Earlier known as Newshunt, the news platform was founded by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2009. It was acquired by Ver Se Innovations in 2012 and rebranded as Dailyhunt in 2015. The company is currently led by CEO Virendra Gupta.
Dailyhunt uses machine learning and deep learning technology that tracks user preferences to deliver news and content. The platform claims to offer news and content in 14 languages, licensed from over 1,000 publications. It has 252 million monthly active users and 51 million daily active users.
Several vernacular news and content platforms have cropped up in recent times. Just last year, two such startups, Lokal and Awaaz, received backing from venture capital firms India Quotient and 3One4 Capital, and Matrix Partners, respectively. Five-year-old regional social media platform ShareChat raised $100 million in a growth round in August 2019.
Disclosure: James Murdoch belongs to the Murdoch family, who are majority shareholders of News Corp, the parent entity of Mosaic Digital that publishes TechCircle.