India's Inshorts raises $60 million following Public social network app growth

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Indian startup Inshorts, which operates an eponymous news aggregator service, has raised $60 million in a new financing round as its two-year-old bet -- the launch of a new social media app called Public -- continues to impress, the startup confirmed to TechCrunch on Thursday.

Vy Capital led the new round in Inshorts, which has raised $140 million in the last year. The new investment values the startup at about $550 million, up from about $250 million valuation in $41 million fundraise in March and $125 million valuation in September last year, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Azhar Iqubal, co-founder and chief executive of Inshorts, confirmed the size of the round and lead investor but declined to comment on the valuation. The startup counts Addition, Tiger Global, SIG, A91 and Tanglin Venture Partners among its investors.

“The world is changing every minute, and each one of us has an inherent desire to remain updated about these changes," he said in a brief statement. "Both Inshorts app and Public app are aimed to help some of these people in their quest of keeping themselves informed and we are thrilled to have Vy Capital join us in our journey."

Inshorts is a popular aggregator app that summarizes news articles in 60 words and covers a wide-range of topics, including tech and business. But arguably it's the startup's expansion into the social media category that has helped it scale widely and attract so many high-profile investors.

Downloads of Public app, according to mobile insight platform App Annie.

Launched two years ago, the Public app has already emerged as one of the fastest growing social apps in the South Asian country, with more than 60 million monthly active users. The location-based social network connects individuals to people in their vicinity. Think about people living in the same society, or people in a mall or within a few miles from each other.

The app, which is available in several major Indian languages (including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Assamese, Gujarati and Marathi), allows shop owners to drive e-commerce, and also serves as a classified, entertainment and recruiting platform.

“We are excited to partner with Azhar and team in their journey to build one of the largest content platforms out of India, running two market leading properties with a rapidly growing user base. We look forward to working closely with the company and the team as it enters the next phase of scaling,” said Vamsi Duvvuri, partner, Vy Capital, in a statement.

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