US-based digital publishing company Scroll Media Inc, which runs a digital daily under the name Scroll.in, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Omidyar Network, the philanthropic VC firm set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, with participation from New York-based Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF). Scroll.in is an independent news, information, and entertainment venture.
“We cannot disclose the deal size,” Samir Patil, CEO of Scroll, told VCCircle. “Our aim is to provide good quality content to readers across all platforms, including mobile and tablets. So, the funds will go towards enhancing our technology and increasing the pace of the editorial content,” he added.
Patil added that Scroll is also planning to monetise the content by introducing native and other kinds of ads.
Scroll was founded in 2012 by Samir Patil (CEO), an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Patil had earlier also founded ACK Media, an entertainment and education company for the youth, which was later sold Future Group. He is also co-founder of sports based entertainment centre Smaash Entertainment Pvt Ltd and fashion portal for woemn Styloot. In the past, he had also worked at McKinsey as associate principal.
Mumbai-based Khaitan & Co advised Omidyar on the latest deal.
Founded in 2004, Omidyar Network has committed more than $688 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency and social media.
In an interview with VCCircle in May this year, Dimple Sanghi, director of investments at Omidyar Network India, said that the firm is looking to back around half a dozen firms in India committing around $20 million this year. She added that the firm is evaluating around seven projects currently with the firms involved in sectors like education, financial inclusion and consumer internet & mobile.
Omidyar has invested over $125 million in India to date (since 2010) and has outlined an investment of approximately $25-30 million per year. Recently, Omidyar participated in a Series C round of investment in Bangalore-based NBFC Vistaar Financial Services Pvt Ltd. Vistaar’s existing investors Elevar Equity and Saama Capital also put in more. Besides Vistaar, Omidyar invested in venture debt firm IntelleGrow early this year.
MDIF provides financing and business assistance to independent news outlets. The fund has invested $129.7 million in 100 news businesses in 31 countries since 1996.