Telugu vernacular short news app Way2News has raised $16.75 million (Rs 130 crore) as part of its Series A funding round led by WestBridge Capital and joined by renowned venture capitalist Sashi Reddi.
This also marks WestBridge Capital’s debut investment in the media and entertainment sector in India.
Hyderabad-headquartered Way2News, touted as the top news app in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, proposes to deploy the proceeds of the Series A round to expand into other South Indian languages of Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.
Way2News on June 9 announced that it will invest the proceeds in hiring teams in editorial, sales, marketing and scaling their artificial intelligence-based technology to minimise human intervention in delivering credible news.
“At a time when existing social media and news syndication platforms may falter to find reliable local news, Way2News has cracked the code, enabling users to find credible news from small towns and villages while ensuring depth of coverage,” said Way2News founder and chief executive officer Raju Vanapala.
“Our mobile-first, crowdsourced news platform, coupled with smarter AI-based quality checks, is revolutionary and sustainable.”
WestBridge Capital co-founder and managing director Sumir Chadha said Way2News has shown a remarkable ability to scale and grow capital efficiently: “Their user acquisition approach, engagement, and retention rates are unique and best-in-class in the industry.”
Founded in 2016, Way2News provides hyperlocal short news updates wherein it allows verified stringers to write and contribute regularly, making it a de-facto platform for citizen journalists with unique coverage penetration.