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HT Media backs hyper-local content marketplace Pebble, news site LocalHeading
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Media group Hindustan Media Ventures Limited (HMVL) has invested Rs 4 crore (around $572,392 at current exchange rates) in content venture Aleph Digital Solutions Private Limited, it said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

HMVL said it will make the investment in two tranches of Rs 2 crore each.

The group will acquire 14.25% equity stake in Aleph upon completing the first stage of the investment, and will fund the second tranche before 31 March 2020. The investment in Aleph will help HMVL to build products in the news gathering and aggregation space, the filing said.

Shares of HMVL were trading 6.79% lower at Rs 111.15 on the National Stock Exchange at the time of filing this report.

Aleph, which was founded in November 2017, runs Pebble, a platform where journalists and freelance writers can sell their content to publishers across the world. It also offers hyper-local content from verified journalists.

The company also runs a vernacular news website called Local Heading, which, according to the filing, will allow reporters and other portals to create their own pages and garner followers.

HMVL, which reported total earnings of Rs 959.56 crore in 2018, runs companies and subsidiaries such as HT Media Limited, which publishes the Hindustan Times newspaper and business daily Mint.

In January, HT Media invested $3.6 million (approximately Rs 25.4 crore then) in Digiperform, led by Digital Performance Media Private Limited, which offers digital skills-building courses for a variety of professionals.

There have been several other deals in the digital media space.

In March 2018, technology news website FactorDaily raised Rs 5.7 crore (approximately $ 875,000 then) in funding from Freshworks Inc. promoter Girish Mathrubootham and One97 Communications Limited Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Similarly, news portal The Print raised Rs 3.49 crore (approximately $535,000 then) in the same month from Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata.

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