With advance in technology and global connectivity, the flow of information and ‘news’ has become swift and almost unrestricted. We all are short of time with our round the clock work life and stay glued to our screens to catch every bite of top headlines to keep ourselves updated and drive meaningful conversations.
With the advent of numerous apps for reading news, Awesummly has something unique to offer its readers. Founder Nitin Mishra tells us more about it in an interview with IndiaSpark.
* Ideation of Company and Journey
The ideation of company took place in a pub in Gurgaon, when Nitin, Deepak and Ankit were discussing about a Malaysian flight that went missing. The flight number was their concern as they were unable to recall it. They discussed this with their colleagues and friends the next day and realized it’s not just them but many of their friends also faced this same problem. They made a hypothesis that people are not able to read all the news in a single day because they generally are short on time. Even, in this modern digital era, people find reading lengthy news articles on their smartphone, painful and time-consuming. Also, since, they are tied down with a busy schedule, news readers find themselves helpless while consuming all the news in a day. They made up their mind to resolve this problem and started working on it. They started validating their hypothesis about reading news and found things pretty interesting. According to Nelson Norman Group research, “People rarely read web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.” People browse/scan the internet, by which, the flow of information in digital media has no barriers. It can be infinite, sometimes leading readers to a deviate from what they actually want to read. They became less specific and more opinionated and instead of reading by the word, they went ahead reading the sub-headings to create ideas of their own. Eureka! Now when scanning has become our habit, we need to know what’s happening around in a truly specific way without affecting our filters and comfort. Not only do the masses want content based on their language, geography, or beat but also want it put across in a very concise way. A brief news piece will attract more users than a detailed editorial and that has been the basis idea behind the success of short news aggregation apps like InShorts, although they summarize news articles manually. To make the curation and summarizing process faster and in order to give readers an access to bite-sized news pieces in real time, Awesummly came into being.
* Product, Offerings and Market Size
Founded by Nitin Mishra, Deepak Mishraand Ankit Dhawan in July 2015, the startup Awesummly is a machine intelligence powered short news product (API & App). It automatically aggregates news from different publications, sorts out the relevant information and summarizes them in order to present short news content in a beautiful card design format in 70 words. This all happens is a very rapid manner helping people consume relevant data fast. The content is aggregated from more than 500 publications with custom news categories and languages to choose from. They claim that their in-house built technology can summarize more than 1 lakh news articles every day across 22+ international languages, 8+ news categories and 40+ countries in realtime and can serve all of this data to other businesses via their API.
News is the second most engaging task people perform on their smartphones after email/social chat and messaging. The market is huge, specifically in a developing country like India where infrastructure is growing by the day. We will be focusing on India during the next year, since India has the second largest smartphone user base across the world with almost around 200 million users. Our target segment mainly consists of the students and people who are working and doing business.
* Monetisation & Traction Stats
Awesummly is Facebook for short content. The company is planning to monetize through sponsored ads and short content APIs on a subscription basis.
Awesummly is providing four basic plans: basic, silver, gold and premium, each with upgraded features as one moves a level up. Nitin added that the company is planning to work on a revenue sharing model with these news publications, where the news is aggregated from.
Awesummly App has 13K+ total installs, 184K+ total sessions with a 4.6 rating on Google Play Store. Awesummly has 200% MoM growth in user base with more than 2,500 short news articles being shared per week, 55,000 short news articles being read per week, 11K+ weekly active users and 40% of total users sharing news on different social platforms. New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad are the Top 5 cities where they aggregate most of their traffic.
* Team Background
Nitin, who has 5+ years of experience, has worked in TCS Research Labs as a researcher and as a CTO in another startup before starting Awesummly. He had always worked on building scalable architectures and product design, as well as publishing research papers on Machine Learning and NLP technologies. But he wanted to do something big. Nitin admits to getting easily inspired by entrepreneurs. He has had many ideas but could not execute them due to the lack of a motivated team. So he kept looking for like-minded people, while dealing with the monotony of his day job. Deepak, who has 6+ years of experience, joined multiple startups including Housing just before starting Awesummly. As an entrepreneur, Deepak had tried his hands on and dropped more than 10 ideas. Ankit had a passion for entrepreneurship since he was in college. Ankit has 1+ years of experience and worked in three startups just to make sure that he possessed all the skills required to start his own company. He could not launch any startup as he was not able to make a complete team. All of the three co-founders are actually colleagues turned friends.
* Funding & Competitors
The company is currently being bootstrapped. However, it is looking to raise funds in the seed round. These funds will further be deployed for technology expansion and product development, Nitin said.
Awesummly is competing in a market captured 60% by Google News, while publications like Huffington Post are also in queue as they act as a mix of manual and automated content. Noida-based Inshorts, is the immediate competitor to this app. Similarly, on the global level, Summly which was acquired by Yahoo in 2013, could be considered as Awesummly’s predecessor in the summarizing algorithm. Our users are not the ones who follow news throughout the day; they come to the app periodically, get their dose of quick, concise information, and leave. Awesummly has a long term vision which is to optimize the time while reading and sharing short content. Nitin said “Our competitors provide short news but number of short news provided by them are limited. Also, their model to enhance and scale is not adequate because they create summaries manually. Our research driven technical expertise in Short News domain and the corpus data we collected over the time would surely create a barrier for competitors’ entry in other countries”.
* Advice to entrepreneurs
Nitin has always asked entrepreneurs to “Don’t give up, keep doing hustle“. This is the only Guru Mantra which makes you more passionate about what you are doing. Any entrepreneurial journey is always full of ups and downs. Patience is important here. You will have good and bad times throughout your journey, but the worst of times will bring out the best in you and give you an opportunity to prove yourself.
We wish Awesummly the very best for their future endeavours and hope they can revolutionize news reading to create a less time-consuming and more enjoyable environment for us, readers.
Liked Awesummly? Visit their website or download their app now!