2019-02-01

Matrix Partners India invests in Awaaz

Bengaluru, February 01, 2019 – Matrix Partners India announces its investment in Awaaz, a local video news platform.

Awaaz was founded in 2018, and is a fast-growing video news, entertainment and general content sourcing platform focusing on regional and hyper local content. It is targeting the non-English speaking internet audience of India that is expected to make up 80% of the 800M+ internet user base by 2021. News is a key vertical, with 4 out of 10 internet users using their smartphones to access news on a daily basis. Regional content on both TV and print has seen an explosion, with growth rates more than double that of national content.

Awaaz’s initial focus is to provide a platform to source local video news by providing breaking news videos from surrounding localities in the users’ regional language and will extend this to other verticals soon thereafter. Awaaz is using technology to democratize coverage by empowering local journalists to produce high quality content. At the same time, it will also use technology to personalize users’ feeds and recommend relevant local content to the users. In addition to local news, it will also provide non-news content like horoscope, government updates and local weather updates, among other things.

Commenting on the fundraise, Subodh Kolhe, co-founder, Awaaz said, “Enabling access to local news and information in regional languages, among other verticals, is our mission at Awaaz. Local updates such as political updates, municipality updates & local incidents are primary concerns for regional users. Most of these demands are not fulfilled with existing platforms, we at Awaaz will be working towards solving this information gap. The Matrix team is a great partner in our journey and their experience in scaling online marketplaces for Indian markets is a great value-add for our team.”

Sanjot Malhi, Vice President, Matrix India commented, “Awaaz sits dead center of our next billion user thesis, and at the confluence of several exciting trends in Indian internet. India is now the largest data consumer in the world at 9GB+/capita usage, with the bulk going to video consumption. At the same time, 9 out of 10 users coming online don’t speak English and almost half use their smartphones for their daily dose of news and other content but the supply is limited. Awaaz is trying to cater to this unique opportunity. We are excited by Subodh and Firasat’s vision, and are privileged to partner with them on this journey.

About the founders:

Subodh Kolhe leads the Product vertical at Awaaz. Previously, he was part of CREO/Teewe which got acquired by Hike. At Hike, he was part of their payment and content product teams - launched Ola and bus ticketing mini-apps on Hike’s platform. At CREO, he was part of the product team that built android based operating system for the Indian markets. He graduated from BITS Pilani Goa campus in 2014.

Firasat Durrani leads the Content vertical at Awaaz. Previously, he was at YourStory Media for a brief stint working closely with the video teams to ramp up their video vertical. Earlier, he was part of CREO/Teewe which got acquired by Hike. At CREO/Teewe, he was part of the marketing and product design teams that launched the Android based operating system and smartphone for Indian markets.

About Awaaz:
Awaaz is building a local video content sourcing platform for regional users in their local languages. Awaaz is using technology to democratize regional content coverage by empowering local journalists to produce high quality content. Along with local news, the platform is working towards aggregating other information touchpoints – weather updates, vegetable mandi rates, government updates, horoscope, etc.

About Matrix Partners India:

Matrix Partners India is an investment firm with approximately $1 billion under management. Founded in 2006, the firm invests in companies targeting the Indian consumer and enterprise market at the seed, early and early growth stages. Matrix India has invested in several market leading companies such as Ola (local transportation), Quikr (online classifieds), Practo (digital health platform), Dailyhunt (mobile local language platform), Treebo (digital hotel chain), Limeroad (social e-commerce platform), Mswipe (mobile POS), Five Star Business Finance (SME lending), OfBusiness (credit led B2B marketplace), Vogo (scooter sharing) and Cloudnine Hospitals (leading chain of maternity hospitals), among others. Matrix India has advisory offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Matrix Partners has a global network of funds investing in the US, China and India. Further information is available at www.matrixpartners.in