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New media venture in India helps readers distinguish signal from noise – londonbusinessblog.com

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An Indian upstart co-founded by a group of journalists seeking to disrupt the way people follow news and what they consume has raised capital as it prepares to accelerate its growth and broaden its offerings.

The signal is aimed at meeting a need for the modern pace of life where everyone is busy, said Dinesh Narayanan, the co-founder and editor in an interview. “People still want to stay informed about what’s happening in the world. They can read newspapers or multiple news outlets, but they obviously don’t have the time to do it,” he said.

The startup headquartered in Noida has tried to solve this with a newsletter and podcast of the same name in which it curates, produces and discusses what they believe to be the most important developments from the worlds of business, technology, economics and policy.

The newsletter, which appears six times a week, features nearly a dozen stories in each issue and delves deep into two to three major stories, with additional context and commentary from a team of journalists who have previously worked for editorial boards including The Economic Times. . The Quint, YourStory, The Morning Context and Reuters.

Signal says it is focused on serving smart audiences in India and beyond. It has amassed more than 38,000 subscribers, a base that includes several unicorn founders, lawmakers, and policymakers. The newsletter goes out at 8 a.m. and only requires five to seven minutes of reading time, Narayanan said.

The startup, which plans to expand its coverage to more areas, including sports, and launch newer products, is currently not charging its readers and listeners. Instead, most newsletters are currently supported by major name sponsors. Narayanan argued that a sponsor-supported model is the more sustainable way to monetize a news product in the country.

“Everyone is talking about this totally addressable market, right? Nobody really knows what exactly it is these days because you have a population of probably about 150-200 million people who can afford to pay. There are so many opportunities for people who give them free news. It’s a very small portion of the public that would actually pay,” he said.

“So some of them would pay because it’s good journalism, some of them would pay because they give exactly the amount of news they want, some of them would pay for the depth of the content. I think the existing players are already competing for this rather small pie.”

Every Saturday, Signal publishes original stories in a newsletter called The Intersection.

The Signal, most of which have other founding members, including: Venkat Anantho and Patanjali Pahwa are also journalists, is the newest independent media company in the South Asian nation, one of the world’s largest news markets. Founding team also includes ex-Google India Public Policy Officer Rajneil Kamath and Chinmay Bhogleformerly of Times Internet, Star Sports and Tata Motors.

Several journalists in the country have left their influential jobs at top media houses in recent years to build something for themselves, frustrated by trying to make systemic changes to the way legacy outlets work — or take inspiration from a similar one. current in the US, where journalists have traditionally shown more entrepreneurial instincts.

But unlike the US and UK, where several media company founders have made successful exits, India has yet to show any.

Ultimately, the future of the signal depends on the nation’s per capita purchasing power, Narayanan said. As “purchasing power increases and consumption patterns change based purely on that… exits and the size of exits are a function of that. It’s a business. Yes, so it is definitely connected to the fortunes of the country as a whole,” he added.

For now, The Signal doesn’t have to worry about that.

The startup said Monday it has raised another round of funding, but did not disclose the size. The Signal’s angel investors are CRED’s Miten Sampat, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal, Unacademy co-founder Gaurav Munjal, Haptik co-founder Aakrit Vaish, media entrepreneur Parry Ravindranathan, Vue.ai founder Ashwini Asokan and DealStreetAsia founder and CEO Joji Phillip Thomas. Investment fund LetsVenture led the round, while venture capital fund Capital A also participated, Narayanan said. Fintech-focused fund Rainmatter also invested in the round, according to a regulatory filing. (Narayanan and Rainmatter did not comment on the fund’s participation.)

“Venkat, Patanjali, Dinesh & Roshni P Nair have written some of the most significant stories in Indian technology over the past 5 years, and I’m really excited to see them build The Signal as a way to empower readers understand,” Sampat said. “India, and ultimately the world, needs an outlet that goes beyond news flashes and goes deep into nuanced reporting through a mix of curation, original writing, and new forms of meaning making.”


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