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IAN leads funding round in vernacular news platform PublicVibe
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Vernacular hyperlocal news platform PublicVibe has raised an undisclosed sum of money in a funding round led by the Indian Angel Network.

Anthill Ventures and Hyderabad Angels also invested in the startup, the IAN said in a statement.

IAN investors Bikky Khosla and Prashant Pahade have joined the board of PublicVibe, which is operated by News Distill Pvt. Ltd.

The Hyderabad-based company will use the capital to scale up its vernacular offerings and optimise its artificial intelligence-based infrastructure.

PublicVibe co-founder Narasimha Reddy said consumers are as interested in local news as they are in national and global developments. “Our mission as a hyperlocal news platform is to serve this massive readership with instant and verified news content in local languages,” he said.

Khosla said there was a lot of scope for growth in the vernacular digital media segment because there were very few established companies in the sector.

Formerly known as NewsDistill, PublicVibe was founded in 2015. It aggregates news sourced from newspapers, television networks and social media, among other channels. It provides services in eight languages apart from English.

In September 2016, the company raised $100,000 in seed funding from a group of investors including Ganesh Narasimhan, Ramana Thumu and Sudhir Mallem.

News of IAN leading the investment comes just under a month after the group announced that it had raised the targeted corpus of its eponymous debut fund. Co-founder Saurabh Srivastava said the network had raised Rs 350 crore and that the fund had the window to raise another Rs 100 crore by its expected close in August.

Limited Partners in the fund include the state-run Small Industries Development Bank of India through its Startup Fund of Funds and the Department of Biotechnology through its Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council. Domestic institutions India Infoline, Yes Bank, Max Group as well as the United States-based impact investment foundation Gray Matters Capital and South Korea’s Hyundai have also contributed to the fund.

The IAN, which was founded in 2006, is one of the most prominent startup investor networks. According to its website, the network invests up to $1 million across sectors and usually exits over a three- to five-year period through a strategic sale. It has over 120 portfolio companies across seven countries, including Delhi-based Styledotme Fashion & Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd and the Retailworx India Pvt. Ltdf-run Freshworld.

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