Delhi-based news-based app Inshorts (previously known as News In Shorts) is an innovative and unique way to provide content to its readers – in 60-words, it provides short and crisp news stories. Recently, it has also expanded its offering to videos, blogs and podcasts as well. In a country like India, which has witnessed the largest smart phone revolution after US and China, content consumption over the mobile has grown in leaps and bounds. This content consumption pattern has contributed to the rise of startups like Inshorts that are trying to serve consumers in their own unique ways- the idea is to remain updated always, in all ways, even while on the go.
The Founders and their Idea
Inshorts was founded in April 2013 by three IIT students while enjoying their vacation. The venture by Azhar Iqubal, Anunay Arunav, and Deepit Purkayastha is a mobile-based service that offers summarized news within 60 words. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. This startup believes in nothing else other than relevant content – this is the reason why readers/consumers will not find anything closely associated with storytelling or opinion based articles. Whether you are hurrying to the board room or stranded in a traffic jam or standing aimlessly in the metro station, Inshorts app is the perfect companion for you. Inshorts has a wonderful team of talented curators who handpicks carefully the most important news – they manually summarize the news into several categories like national, international, entertainment, automobile, science, politics, business, sports, and technology. They even have a ‘Hatke’ section where you can read news like ‘Museum of Broken Relationships opens in H’wood’ or ‘BBC makes film on gorilla who ‘talks’ to humans.’
The Future looks Promising
This promising startup, which was incubated at Times Internet’s TLabs, has recently raised $20 million in Series-B funding from Tiger Global. Moreover, Sachin Bansal, CEO and Founder of Flipkart, is also one of the angel investors in the company. The startup has plans to revamp its tech mettle with the funds received. It also plans to algorithmically personalize its content and user experience so as to provide a clutter free experience.
What began as a Facebook page back in 2013 has now picked up followers rapidly. Last December, the Android app crossed almost 100,000 downloads on Google Play. It is now aiming to grow to five million downloads soon. Currently, the focus area of the startup is the Indian market. Even the international news that is shared on the portal keeping in mind the Indian users. The startup currently publishes about 100 articles per day, but aims to publish about 1000 articles per day by early next year.
The First Acquisition
The three year old Inshorts has acquired Palo Alto/Bangalore-based Retention.ai (previously known as BetaGlide), a startup that builds technology to optimise mobile applications and also tracks app uninstalls in order to help improve its user retention. As Azhar Iqubal, co-founder of Inshorts said, “The acquisition will be helpful in improving mobile experience for customers.”
Incidentally, both Betaglide and Inshorts were incubated at TLabs.
Competition and International Presence
There are not many companies who do what Inshorts do. The company does compete with US based Flipboard though but as the founding team believes that Flipboard relies on a slick UI (unlike Inshorts) and has no aggregation. The startup has plans to reach US by end of 2016. Singapore is also on the agenda as well.
60 word news delivery is a really innovative gift for the busy Indian readers and we just hope that with proper planning and strategy, Inshorts will carve an exclusive niche for itself.