Times Internet invests in travel news site Skift

Times Internet Ltd, the digital media arm of the Times Group, has made an undisclosed investment in Skift, a travel news and information portal. The development was first disclosed in a tweet by Times Internet chief Satyan Gajwani.

"While most media companies are trying to modernise, we love how Rafat (Ali) and his team are building a lean, relevant media company from the ground up. There's a lot for us to learn and we look forward to working closer with him and the Skift team," Gajwani told VCCircle. He shared that this investment is part of a larger round which has seen participation from existing investors in the startup.

Rafat Ali tweeted that Skift has added Times Internet to the last funding round the firm announced in May.

In May this year, Skift raised $1.1 million in seed funding. The round was led by Lerer Ventures and saw participation from four other seed funds, including Ironfire Angel, MESA+, Advancit Capital and GrowLab+LX Ventures (they have invested together). A group of eight angel investors, including Sanjay Parthasarthy, Vishal Gondal, Gordon Crovitz, Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital, Mohamed Nanabhay and Tom Glocer, also took part in the round.

Before that, Skift had raised $500,000 from over a dozen angel investors. In total, in two rounds of funding, Skift had raised more than $1.5 million, prior to the latest investment from Times Internet. The portal claims to have more than half a million unique users in May 2013 and 25 per cent of audience coming in from mobile.

New York-based Skift was founded by Rafat Ali along with Jason Clampet in 2011. It is a travel intelligence media company that offers news, insight, data, tools and services to the travel industry. Prior to starting Skift, Ali founded which was later sold to GigaOM Network in 2012. Before that he was managing editor at Silicon Alley Reporter. Clampet, on the other hand, was the senior online editor at John Wiley and Sons before joining Ali for launching Skift.

For Times Internet, this adds to investments in international digital media & commerce properties. The firm had previously invested in US-based

This marks a departure from the group’s strategy of going slow on overseas investments after striking a poor deal at high valuations when it acquired a radio property in the UK. It recently sold Absolute Radio at a loss. However, in the new strategy the group is making small investments for minority stake rather than acquiring firms.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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