Hotify Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs personalised news curation app Hotify, has raised $150,000 (Rs 1 crore) in seed investment from Rajasthan Angel Innovators Network’s (RAIN) co-founder Mahavir Pratap Sharma.
The startup will use the funds mainly for product development and innovation on artificial intelligence capabilities, and to hire innovators, co-founder Abhinav Garg told Techcircle.in.
Hotify claims to deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence tools that decipher the likes and dislikes of users. The app syncs with the user’s social media accounts for better content curation.
The company was founded in January by Abhinav, Alok Gautam, Ankur Garg and Li Jian. Abhinav and Ankur previously founded Gurgaon-based Growthword Digital Pvt Ltd, which showcases Indian startups and digital businesses through its online platform iamWire.
Gautam, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, had earlier founded education and corporate training venture Travelocon. Li, who invested in iamWire, is the founder of Draphant Consultants.
RAIN’s Sharma is a serial entrepreneur-turned-investor. He is the founder and director of Oscar Exports. Sharma co-founded RAIN three years ago to invest in early-stage ventures. Last year, RAIN invested in Blue Box Media Pvt Ltd, Locus Transit Pvt Ltd and Kidswids Online Services Pvt Ltd.
The investment into Hotify comes as another sign that angel investors in India and overseas are willing to bet on niche content-led digital brands, many of which are primarily based on advertising with some ancillary revenue opportunities, such as events and job-boards.
In August, iamWire had secured an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Li Tao, founder and CEO of APUS Group; Li Jian, Nitin Garg, Saurabh Jain and Mohit Agarwal.
Hotify would compete with the likes of InShorts (formerly NewsInShorts), DailyHunt (formerly NewsHunt) and Flipboard, which acquired Zite in March 2014.
In July, mobile news curator InShorts, which aggregates third-party news and presents it in 60 words, received $20 million in a Series B round from existing investor Tiger Global.
In January, Ver Se Innovation Pvt Ltd, which runs mobile news aggregation and book downloads app DailyHunt, raised $40 million from Falcon Edge Capital, Omidyar Network Advisors, Matrix Partners and Sequoia Capital India in a Series C round, just four months after raising an $18 million Series B round.
iamWire’s content business and some products compete with VCCircle and Techcircle.in’s offerings. The parent of the VCCircle Network—whose business lines include subscription data products, events, training programmes and a subscription-led news website and app focused on the startup ecosystem as well as business at large in India—was acquired by News Corp in March.