Lee Fixel backs Inshorts’ social network in first India bet from new fund
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

Location-based social network Public App, which was launched by English news aggregator Inshorts last year, said Wednesday it has raised $35 million (around Rs 258 crore) from three investors.

The investors include a new fund floated by former Tiger Global executive Lee Fixel. This marks the first investment in India by Addition, which Fixel floated earlier this year after quitting Tiger Global.

Fixel is known in India mostly for leading Tiger Global’s investment in online retailer Flipkart.

The two other investors who backed Public App are SIG Global, operated by US-based quantitative trading firm Susquehanna International Group; and Tanglin Venture Partners, a venture capital fund floated by former Tiger Global executives Ravi Venkatesh and Edwina Yeo.

Public App said in a statement it will use the funds to grow its content offerings and for hiring. It will also use the funds to upgrade its technology.

In January, Public App had said that it had registered 10 million users within six months of its beta launch. The app allows people to record and share whatever is happening around them in various vernacular languages including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Assamese, Gujarati and Marathi.

Azhar Iqubal, founder and CEO of Public App, said the app currently has more than 50 million active users. Over one million videos are being created every month on the app.

Noida-based Inshorts had last raised $5 million from existing investor Tiger Global in a bridge round of funding in 2017.

Inshorts was started in 2013 by Deepit Purkayastha, an IIT Kharagpur dropout, along with IIT Delhi dropouts Iqubal and Anunay Arunav. It secured a seed round of funding in June 2014.

The broader social network and content creation platforms have been attracting a lot of interest from investors as they seek to tap into people from smaller cities primarily engaged on the internet in their vernacular languages.

Just last week, Twitter-backed ShareChat raised $40 million in a pre-Series E funding round from a clutch of investors to boost its short video platform Moj.

Last month, Nexus Venture and top angel investors backed social video platform Mitron and AngelList India invested in video platform Chingari.

Earlier this year, artificial intelligence-based vernacular content startup Instoried received funding from US-based venture capital firm SOSV and its Chinese arm Chinaccelerator.

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