Former Facebook India head Umag Bedi joins Dailyhunt

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BENGALURU: In what will be one of the most high profile hires by an Indian internet firm in recent years, local language news and entertainment aggregator Dailyhunt has roped in former Facebook India head Umang Bedi as President. Bedi will report to founder Virendra Gupta and will take help scale up the revenues and user base of the platform, which already has more than 80 million monthly active users.

“We will focus on three metrics – increasing 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,” Bedi told ET.

Bedi, who was most recently the managing director of Facebook for India and South Asia, before which he led India business at multi-national companies like Adobe, Intuit and Symantec. He officially left Facebook in January.

“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% of the Indian digital advertising market in the coming years, which is right now pegged at about $2-2.5 billion. Search engine giant Google and Facebook currently capture about 80-85% of this market, and are also developing products for the 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% of India’s Internet user base. According to the report, 90% of the new internet users in India in the next five years will be Indian language users growing by 230% 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 six billion minutes on the application each month. Founded in 2009 Dailyhunt has raised over $160 million in funds from investors including Matrix Partners India, Sequoia, Omidyar Network and Falcon Edge. In 2016 it raised a round from China’s Bytedance, which operates personalized news app Toutiao there.

Dailyhunt has also been expanding it’s 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, part of the group which publishes The Economic Times. Newzly provides trending news articles across multiple genres including entertainment, business, sports, amongst other sectors.

“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 personalization for the user, based on their interests,” said Gupta.

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