Even though this news is bit old, it shows exuberance in the market that was.

*Disclaimer – Analysis is based on information available in public domain. So, what’s stated here is obviously an opinion.

InShorts became recently News apps with more than 1MN downloads on Android playstore in July2015. It is into the business of News curation platform, that summarizes news in 60 words.

Here is brief funding History:
2013 – Launched as FB Page
June 2014 – Rs. 2 Cr Angel Fund by 5 People/Companies
FEB 2015- $4 Mn/Rs. 25 CR Series A, TigerGLobal, Rebright Prartners, Flipkart Bansals,
July 2015 – $20 Mn – Series B, TigerGlobal at $60 Mn valuation or Rs. 600 Cr.
# Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar, Manish Dhingra, Sachin &Binny Bansal, Times Internet
Now, here was what $60 MN valuation got to the investors in Series B funding in July 2015.
1. Company  working solely on freemium model at that time.
2. No.1 News App in Android Playstore
3. India’s highest rated newsapp in Android Playstore
Now, let us look at where it stands as of today.
Applyzer puts InShorts into India No.2 (TimesofIndia being first) and overall 63rd rank.
In free News category, CNN is being category leader. Except India, it really scores lowly number in all other markets.
In News and Magazines category, it has so far 3.9 MN downloads along with 116448 ratings.
In India, its ranked at no. 4 on Playstore.
If you look at the competition, there has been 160 apps in News and Magazines category with installed base of 1-5 MN, with 30 being above 5 MN installs.
Overall, its been rated to 22 which considers mix of installs, user ratings, growth over 30/60 days.
Here are the key challenges in InShorts business model as I see it.
1. News category market is so crowded with almost no entry barriers. So, going after advertising dollars  would be difficult with many vying for same pie.
2. Digital advertising model is on the decline, with so many sites offering opt-out advertising to the users. So, except Facebook/Google and Yahoo (in some cases), there would not be much growth in this space.
Check out what Scott Galloway says about it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFe3YOlRlRs&index=19&list=PL67plOPT3Am0JbnL_LjU2X1DfraHvVsWd
3. News has always been mix of local and global news in the way we digest news. Focussing on geographic spread most likely be disastrous. They should ain for being World’s news app than India/APAC. It also means change in content generation tactics (even adding  local language support). News related Apps always had strong local relevance (consider person in India not so interested in US Election campaign, vice versa American not interested in Cricket news). So, its important to bring in personalization as well as localization in news content.
4. Moving away from Freemium model would require business model change. It also means changing your customer definition – targeting more enterprise customers instead of individual users.
Would be interesting to see how it turns out overall  InShorts has been on growth trajectory since last year, so for sure they have got the numbers. Let us see if they can figure out way to MONETIZE it.

 

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