“The only focus that we have right now is to make sure that the app runs smoothly on lower-end smartphones as well,“ said cofounder and CEO Azhar Iqubal, 23, who dropped out of mathematics and computer science course from IIT-Delhi. The company’s race to about $100 million in valuation signifies the increasing interest of investors in startups. While News in Shorts has taken less than a year to reach the milestone, it took bus ticketing portal redBus over six years to reach a $100-million valuation from its seed funding round in February 2007 to June 2013, when it was acquired by South African media conglomerate Naspers.
Since December 2014, News in Shorts has seen Android app downloads increase over 10 times from 100,000 to over one million now. “We will reach five million downloads by the end of 2015, and hopefully also cross the 10 million mark by then,“ said Iqubal.The startup has no plans for monetisation in the near future, though it will ultimately make money through sponsored content and native advertising.
News in Shorts has a 30-member team, which it plans to expand to a maximum of 50 people by the year end at its new office in Noida’s Film City .
Iqubal and his classmate Anunay Pandey, along with 24-year old IIT-Kharagpur graduate Deepit Purkayastha, started work on the concept while they were in the eighth semester of their engineering programme. The trio then dropped out of college to launch the firm.
Launched in September 2014, News in Shorts was part of the fourth batch of Times Internet’s accelerator TLabs in 2013, part of the group which publishes The Economic Times.
In June 2014, angel investors and mentors Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar and Manish Dhingra led its `. 2-crore funding round, with participation from Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, as well as Times . 25 crore Internet. It then raised ` in a fundraising round from Tiger Global earlier this year, with participation from Japan’s Rebright Partners and Flipkart’s Bansals.