Facebook India ex-chief Umang Bedi joins Dailyhunt as president

Former Facebook India head Umang Bedi has joined news, entertainment and regional language content aggregator Dailyhunt as president.

Umang Bedi  

Bedi will report to founder Virendra Gupta and is expected to help scale up the app's revenue and user base, which currently tops 80 million active users a month.

Dailyhunt, formerly known as Newshunt, was founded in 2009 and is owned by Bengaluru-based mobile consumer products and solutions company Verse Innovation Pvt. Ltd. Investors include Matrix Partners India, Sequoia, Omidyar Network, Falcon Edge and Bytedance.

Bedi resigned as Facebook India and South Asia managing director last October. ''When I resigned from Facebook, I had this itch to do something that would have a large impact at the local level. This is a tremendous opportunity to drive scale via Dailyhunt's 'Made in India' platform,'' Bedi told Mint on Wednesday.

''We will focus on three metrics - increasing the number of users, how we can grow engagement and revenue. I believe Dailyhunt can differentiate to win market share in the advertising space and be an independent platform of scale,'' he told The Economic Times.

Bedi has previously led the India businesses of multi-national companies like Adobe, Intuit, and Symantec.

''Umang's background in social media content and experience leading scaled teams generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues is a great fit with our plans. To fight the big boys, you need experienced executives like him,'' said Gupta.

Dailyhunt aims to capture about 10 per cent of the Indian digital advertising market in the coming years, which is now pegged at about $2-2.5 billion. Search engine giant Google and Facebook own about 80-85 per cent of this market, and are also developing products for local language users.

A study by KPMG and Google titled Indian languages Defining India's Internet highlights that by 2021, regional language users will account for 75 per cent of India's internet user base. According to the report, 90 per cent of the new internet users in India in the next five years will be Indian language users, growing by 230 per cent to 536 million users in 2021.

Dailyhunt has over 250,000 news articles in 14 languages, licensed from thousands of content partners with readers spending over 6 billion minutes on the application each month.

In 2016, it raised a funding round from China's Bytedance, which operates personalized news app Toutiao there.

Dailyhunt has also been expanding its product suite and recently introduced Newzly, a news-in-brief app in nine India languages to compete with startups like InShorts and Times Internet's NewsPoint.

Newzly provides trending news articles across multiple genres including entertainment, business, and sports, amongst others.

''The idea is to get into more video options soon too, besides other offerings, eventually creating a family of apps that caters to all kinds of users, in the language of their choice, as well as focusing on increasing personalisation for the user, based on their interests,'' said Gupta.