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Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy, an investment fund managed by Darby, has successfully exited Bangalore-based news and ebooks mobile app Dailyhunt, reported ET.

Dailyhunt was clocking over threefold returns after selling its stake to Chinese content aggregator Bytedance, which is backed by investors like Russian billionaire Yuri Miliner’s DST Global and Chinese social media major Sina Weibo. Bytedance had invested about Rs 168 Cr. as fresh capital in Dailyhunt in October last year.

Launched in 2009 by former Nokia employees Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni,  NewsHunt was acquired by Verse in 2012. In August 2015 NewsHunt rebranded itself as DailyHunt.

The PE firm has sold its stake in Ver Se Innovation, owner of news platform Dailyhunt, for about Rs 130 Cr. in a secondary transaction.

The Bangalore-based company also counts Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India and Omidyar Network besides former global CEO of Vodafone Group Arun Sarin as investors.

The new round of funding has valued Dailyhunt at about Rs 2,100 Cr., a slight premium to its previous round valuation which was between Rs 1,700-Rs 1,800 Cr., according to Registrar of Corporate Affairs filings reviewed by ET.

Bringing Bytedance on board is expected to help Dailyhunt with experience of how to expand the business. Bytedance has 140 Mn monthly active users across its portal Jinri Toutiao in China and TopBuzz in US and Brazil. The company was valued over $500 Mn in 2014 and is pegged as the next multi-billion dollar valuation startup after cab-hailing app Didi Chuxing and group deals site Meituan.

As for Dailyhunt, it has an annual revenue rate of over Rs.100 Cr. and now aims to go over Rs 1500 Cr. in the next four years, by capturing 6-7% of the $4-billion digital advertising market.

Besides, the platform also earns revenue by selling e-books and payments.

Dailyhunt has already built a sizable user base with over 120 Mn mobile application downloads and 28 Mn monthly active users who read 4.5 Bn pages. In the next four years, it expects monthly active users on the platform to increase to 150-200 Mn.

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