SmartNews, a Japanese news discovery app launched in 2012, announced a $230 million Series F round of investment on Wednesday, valuing the company at $2 billion post-money, increasing its total capital raised to more than $400 million.
SmartNews is a news aggregation site that works with other publications to distribute their material, such as USA Today and Time magazine. The app takes pleasure in assisting local news organizations, many of which are under a severe financial strain, by boosting attention to their stories via a tab that displays customized headlines depending on a user’s location.
Why it matters?
SmartNews has grown to become one of the most valued standalone news aggregation apps, and it intends to utilize the funds to extend its footprint in the United States.
After raising $28 million in August 2019 at a valuation of $1.1 billion, the latest investment effectively doubles SmartNews’ valuation in a little over two years.
In 2019, the firm announced that it had over 20 million global monthly active users, and a year later, it announced that its U.S. user base had quadrupled from 2019. In 2021, it hasn’t revealed any user figures. SmartNews employs 500 people, with about 100 of them situated in the United States. According to CEO and co-founder Ken Suzuki, the company intends to treble its American staff in the coming year.
In addition to increasing staffing in the United States, Suzuki says the firm will devote additional resources to better understanding the product demands of American customers.
In 2019, the firm debuted “News From All Sides” inside its politics page to provide readers with many perspectives on the same news article, which Suzuki claims have been a success. SmartNews aims to expand on additional elements that will resonate in the United States, particularly in the area of health and wellness.
Princeville Capital and Woodline Partners LP in the United States, as well as JIC Venture Growth Investments Co. and Green Co-Invest Investment LP in Asia, lead the newest fundraising round.
Since its inception in 2012, the business has raised more than $400 million to assist support its development into the United States, where it maintains offices in San Francisco and New York.
According to sources familiar with the situation, SmartNews is currently considering an IPO, although it is unlikely to be announced before next year.
Editors are employed by the Tokyo firm to supervise material. It has more than quadrupled its worldwide headcount to 500 people since 2019, and it aims to utilize the funds from its most recent fundraising round to hire more people in the United States and introduce features focused on consumer health and safety.