Today mobile is not only an entertainment device but also an information consumption one. With average screen sizes now being 5”, scanning content and browsing for latest updates are a breeze. This shift of content consumption on the go has also been noticed by a lot of startups who are trying to approach this market in their own unique ways.
Though, the segment of mobile content consumption is already a cluttered one both globally and in India too but “News In Shorts” (NIS) which we had reviewed recently has approached the market in its own way. The startup formed during a vacation break by three IIT Delhi engineering friends – Azhar Iqubal (third most in the above pic) , Anunay Arunav of IIT Delhi (Mathematics and Computing), and Deepit Purkayastha (second guy in the pic) of IIT Kharagpur (Computer Science and Engineering) – aims to provide summarized news within 60 words (trying to).
The three-member founding team launched the mobile-based service on 1st April, 2013 and today the app has received more than 3000+ downloads (90% organic). At present we are growing at a rate of 150 (80 organic) downloads a day, shared Azhar Iqubal, while discussing about NIS and the journey so far over an email.
“We always wanted to do something which could help our country to grow into a more aware nation. We realized that news media (one of the four pillars of a successful democracy) in India had a lot of scope of improvement especially with technology acting as an enabler. We realized that the future of the country, the youth who were ready to spend hours on Facebook, Whatsapp, were not even aware of the most important news of the day.
So seeing this repeating pattern around us and after talking to these people we concluded that the only reason the young generation was not reading news was because the existing sources were very content heavy, not optimized for a person who wants to get updated in minutes. So News in Shorts was started in pursuit of addressing this pain point,” added Azhar, while sharing about the necessity of NIS existence.
Today the three member team has grown into a team of five people, with an able support of 20 freelance editors who usually contribute an article a day. While the co-founders – who are still on a college vacation – are growing their team, they are also aware that they have ventured into a crowded space. However, the founders believe that their USP of manually curated content will keep them ahead in the space.
“Our USP is that our manually curated content is precise and consumable unlike the other apps which give automated summaries. Also our user experience is designed not to keep a user hooked into our app for longer duration but to get him/her updated as fast as possible,” Azhar shared.
Scalability could be a problem in such a model but don’t we love customized content rather than automation. Going further the team at NIS plans to roll out the mobile app for other platforms too. Additionally a major update that the team is looking for is curating personalized news for a particular user.
NIS is quite a clean app right now and does the desired job without any goof ups. The team is scaling gradually without any major challenges and all this is happening while they are still in college.