NewsHunt acquires mobile analytics company Vauntz. The Bengaluru based eBooks company was earlier known as Eterno Infotech. Eterno Infotech was launched by former Nokia employees Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni. However Eterno was acquired by Ver Se in 2012.
The acquisition worked as catalyst for Eterno started to build platform product for Indian language users. They started on boarding more publishers and partners and invested in monetisation and building tools.
NewsHunt aggregates news from various sources that may be local, regional, national and international from more than 100 publications around 25000+ articles per day served by the company. The app presents a large collection of newspapers and eBooks in 12 Indian languages. It’s been ranked no 1 on Google Play with over 50 million users and over 1.7 billion monthly page views.
NewsHunt did something that was never done before. They started publishing news in regional vernacular language with cutting edge technology that extended to sophisticated interfaces likes iOS, Windows and Android. The company emphasized on localisation and targeted growing user base millions of smartphone users. News and other content are presented in an easy to consumable format.
NewsHunt understood the market and started working on addressing vernacular population who stay in rural India. India smartphone mobile base is increasing rapidly companies like NewsHunt bridge the gap by creating apps and content for the vernacular speaking market.
“The next 500 million mobile Internet users that will emerge in India will largely be local language first – they will create and consume content and services in local languages. Our vision is to be a dominant part of their first Internet experience and serve these users with world-class products starting with NewsHunt, eBooks, iPayy and many more to come.” said Virendra Gupta, founder and CEO of NewsHunt.
“As part of this journey, we wish to partner with the entire local language ecosystem and work with passionate and talented entrepreneurs in building the first real, large scale Made in India, Made for India platform. We are excited to welcome Falcon Edge to NewsHunt as we continue to further grow our platform,” he added.
The company has forayed into eBook selling business. Last year NewsHunt launched an eBook store for publishers. More than 10 million eBooks in vernacular languages were featured. They received whopping response in terms of subscriptions from more than 2 million users out of them 40 percent are paid customers.
To facilitate purchase of eBooks, NewsHunt has developed gateway called iPayy which support operator billing. Around 4 million unique customers are using the services of iPayy. iPayy is another product of Ver Se. The product was developed to address common problem faced by users who are typically prepaid mobile users. iPayy allows them to use their credit to pay for content, and ties up directly with telecom carriers for billing.
iPayy opened a plethora of services which allowed merchants and small business owners to offer their services to customers who could not earlier think of transacting online. iPayy has more than 700 million subscribers across major telecom companies in India.
The Bengaluru based company was founded by Virendra Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of NewsHunt. He has graduated in Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur and later on went to Shailesh J Mehta School of Management for Masters of Management.
He has diverse experience from entrepreneur skills. Started industrial automation by supplying control solutions and in 1996 joined BPL Mobile as Product Manager. Played active role in tariffing, prepaid and post paid product management of customers. He worked in BPL mobile till 2001. In 2001 he moved to OnMobile as part of Marketing and Alliances. He was instrumental in commercial launch of Voice recognition product in India.
In 2002 Virendra moved to Bharti Cellular Ltd as General Manager – NPD and VAS. He had multiple roles and product leadership roles in Bharti. He worked with Bharti for almost 4.5 years and became Director of Telecom in Trilogy Inc in 2006. He founded Ver Se Innovation Pvt Ltd in 2007.
Vishal Anand is Chief Product Officer of NewsHunt. He has graduated in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from Delhi Institute of Technology. He did Masters of Business Administration from Foster School of Business, University of Washington.
He started his career as Senior Software Associate in NIIT Ltd in 1995 and moved to Transtech Inc as Senior Consultant, he worked in Transtech till 1999. He joined RealNetworks as Senior Software Development Engineer held various positions for development till end of 2004.
Vishal joined as Program Manager for RealArcade in 2005 and managed cross functional product management and engineering teams for development of RealArcade game service syndication platform. In 2006 he joined Infospace as Senior Product Manager worked till June 2010.
He came back to India to become Business Head and Chief Product Officer for burrp! Apart from heading, he was managing cross functional teams of sales, engineering, design and others. In 2012, he became business head and Chief Product Officer of Freecharge.in. He had brief stint of 10 months after which he became Chief Product Officer of News Hunt.
Umesh Kulkarni is Chief Technology Officer of NewsHunt. He has very rich educational qualifications, having graduated in Bachelors Degree in Electronics from Walchand College of Engineering, Shivaji University. Umesh Kulkarni has Master Degree in Electrical Communication Engineering from Indian Institute of Science. He is the winner of Best outgoing student of the ME and Integrated ME batch of 1995. In 2011 he attended Advanced Management program on General Management conducted by Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
He started his career as Research Engineer in ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India), Pune in 1992. Umesh joined software specialist in Wipro Infotech in 1995 where he led in designing hardware, firmware and protocol stocks for ATM/FrameRelay switches of Stratacom and CISCO. He co founded and became Director of Curis Networks P Ltd which subsequently acquired by Amber Networks. He moved to Amber Networks as Staff Engineer and Manager in 2000. In 2001, Umesh became Senior Manager – Architecture, Nokia India, Bangalore R & D. He was responsible for architecture of GigE line card for Nokia’s FlexiGateway platform.
In 2005 he founded and became Director of Eterno Infotech P Ltd. He was instrumental in building several products such as IndiSMS, IndiServer, IndiTunes and IndiMate for Nokia.
The company has received few rounds of funding from leading venture capitalists. They received their Series ‘B’ funding in Sept 2014 from Omdiyar Network, Matrix Partners India and Sequoia Capital for $18 million. NewsHunt received another round of funding from existing investors and Falcon Edge Capital $40 million as Series ‘C’ funding in Feb 2015.
Recently they have acquired Vauntz, that play critical role in building the next generation platform for NewsHunt. The mobile analytics platform has very good experience working with Flipkart, Khosla Labs, Philips and other companies. Vauntz founded by CS engineers Shreyas Desai, Maruti Borker and Piyush Rai. All three have experience working with Google, Rediff and Yahoo. Vauntz has developed products like Hurricane, a Big Data Analytics as a service platform, Hurricane Viz is a product for You Tube analytics platform and Vaunt it, opinion sharing platform.