Alibaba, the Chinese technology and e-commerce giant, is planning to pick a stake in news aggregator Dailyhunt. Alibaba has reportedly proposed a valuation close to $500 million for Sequoia Capital-backed Dailyhunt. Also Read - Jack Ma's Alibaba fined record $2.7B by ChinaAlso Read - Ant Group ordered by China to reexamine its fintech businesses and return to its roots as a payments service
According to Mint, Alibaba is looking to acquire a minority stake in the tune of 10-12 percent in the Indian news aggregator and e-bookstore. Both Alibaba and Dailyhunt declined to comment on the deal, but it is likely that the Chinese giant has its sights on Dailyhunt. Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financials have been looking to expand their investments in technology companies in India and South East Asia. Also Read - India bans 43 more Chinese apps over security concerns
Alibaba Group’s Ant Financials recently invested $200 million in food ordering startup Zomato, giving the startup over a billion dollar valuation. With Dailyhunt, Alibaba might be seeing another unicorn in the making. In 2015, Goldman Sachs Group had named Dailyhunt as one of the possible contenders for billion dollar valuation among India’s internet startups.
Dailyhunt claims to have over 155 million app installs, and offers 100,000 news articles across 14 languages. It licenses content from over 800 partner publications everyday, and is India’s largest news and local language content application. Dailyhunt also claims to have more than 50 million users spending over 6 billion minutes on the service every month.
Dailyhunt first started as Newshunt by former Nokia executives in 2009, and rebranded itself to Dailyhunt in 2015. The platform uses machine learning and deep neural networks to deliver smart curated content to its users based on their reading habits and usage preference. The Dailyhunt app is available on Android, iOS and Windows platforms, and also available as a mobile web version.
According to Crunchbase, the major investors in Dailyhunt include Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network, Falcon Edge, and ByteDance. If the deal goes through then Alibaba will become second major Chinese investor in the company after it raised $25 million in Series D funding from Beijing-based ByteDance.
Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financials have major investments in Snapdeal and One97 Communication, the promoter of Paytm. Alibaba also has investments in Paytm e-commerce and Paytm Mall. Mint reports that Alibaba Pictures controlled by the Chinese giant has bought a majority stake in Chennai-based Orbgen Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates ticket-booking platform TicketNew.
Alibaba has a dominant place in India’s startup ecosystem, and has been picking stakes aggressively in leading startups. With Dailyhunt, it is targeting the media and entertainment space, which is set to expand with more smartphone users and increased data consumption.