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Matrix Partners invests in hyperlocal news app Awaaz

Video content platform Awaaz has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Matrix Partners, a company statement said.

The local video news platform, which focuses on regional and hyper local content, will expand its offerings from local breaking news to other local content personalised to the user’s feed. The platform will also add other content like horoscope, government updates, vegetable mandi rates and local weather updates among others, the statement added.

Founded by former executives at CREO/Teewee Subodh Kolhe and Firasat Durrani, the app is live in 20 districts of Uttar Pradesh. CREO was acquired by Indian messaging platform Hike in 2017.

“Awaaz sits dead center of our next billion user thesis, and at the confluence of several exciting trends in Indian internet. India is now the largest data consumer in the world at 9GB+/capita usage, with the bulk going to video consumption. At the same time, 9 out of 10 users coming online don’t speak English and almost half use their smartphones for their daily dose of news and other content but the supply is limited. Awaaz is trying to cater to this unique opportunity,” said Sanjot Malhi, vice president of Matrix India in the statement.

The app is focused on local language audiences which are expected to make up 80% of the 800 million internet user base by 2021. Close to 72% of India’s mobile traffic online will be driven by video views by 2020, according to a report by UC Media Lab and Cheetah lab.

“Enabling access to local news and information in regional languages, among other verticals, is our mission at Awaaz. Local updates such as political updates, municipality updates and local incidents are primary concerns for regional users. Most of these demands are not fulfilled with existing platforms. We at Awaaz will be working towards solving this information gap,” said co-founder Kolhe in the statement.

Deals in the space

The regional language space has seen multiple investments over the past year with native language chat app ShareChat leading the way with a $100 million investment.

Others like location-based local language social platform app Khidki, medical content startup myUpchar and local language knowledge sharing app Vokal, co-founded by former Taxi For Sure co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, also raised growth capital in 2018.

E-commerce major Amazon too launched a Hindi version of its app in August last year.

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