Hyperlocal short news app Way2News announced it has raised $16.75 million in its Series A round at a post-money valuation of $60 Mn. The round saw participation from Westbridge Capital and Sashi Reddi. This also marks WestBridge Capital’s debut investment in the media and entertainment space in India, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
These funds will be used to expand Way2News’ user base across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, also spend on hiring teams in editorial, sales, marketing and scaling their artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology to minimize human intervention while delivering news.
Founded in 2015 by Raju Vanapala, the Hyderabad-based news platform provides short format news in eight vernacular languages including Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Bangla, and Gujrati to users. As per its LinkedIn page, it offers news in categories including business, sports, politics, technology, and entertainment.
The portal also allows verified stringers to write and contribute regularly, making it a de-facto platform for citizen journalists. Over 30,000 on-the-ground reporters contribute 5,000 stories from 23 combined districts, 1,100 mandals and towns in AP and Telangana.
“At a time when existing social media and news syndication platforms may falter to find reliable local news, Way2News has cracked the code, enabling users to find credible news from small towns and villages while ensuring depth of coverage. Our mobile-first, crowdsourced news platform, coupled with smarter AI-based quality checks, is revolutionary and sustainable,” said Raju Vanapala, founder and chief executive officer.
The portal claims to have clocked over 8 billion monthly screen views and a monthly active users (MAU) and daily average users (DAU) ratio of over 50%.
WestBridge Capital co-founder and managing director Sumir Chadha said Way2News has shown a remarkable ability to scale and grow capital efficiently: “Their user acquisition approach, engagement, and retention rates are unique and best-in-class in the industry.”