A Pivot To Success

Remember when we used to have a limit on how many text messages we could send our friends? Most of us tech-savvy Hyderabadis then had a cheat code to send unlimited SMSs through the internet before the era of Whatsapp. That was Way2SMS. It was a portal where you could send your message from your mobile number as an SMS to your desired number through the internet without a limit. As Whatsapp took over along with the various chat apps, the service turned irrelevant. The Hyderabadi startup headed by Raju Vanapala still didn’t lose hope. With the help of the userbase that they already had with Way2SMS, they pivoted to Way2News and are now going strong.

In 2016, Raju decided that they had to pivot their business to survive. Hence started Way2News. “We wanted to put to use the strong userbase we had generated through Way2SMS. From a messaging service, we turned to an information portal.

Way2News is a hyperlocal short news app based in Hyderabad provides personalized news in short-summarized format in eight Indian languages – Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada and Bengali. The reason why we expanded into vernaculars is that we needed to have a USP in comparison to the other information portals or apps cropping up in the market,” says Raju. In just three years, the company has over 20 million downloads and about 2 million active users. Ask him what his USP was and Raju says, “The simplicity of our design and usability is what is keeping our users hooked. It works with just a swipe and doesn’t need one to understand too many functions. Our news is hyperlocal and is targetted towards the local audience keeping it more relevant and closer to the info needs of the user.”

He also proudly adds, “ Our professional editors, work round-the-clock curating credible, informative, time-critical and trusted content for its users. With the use of Artificial Intelligence, users are exposed to relevant and interesting personalized stories from more than 140 categories. First-hand crowdsourced content, catering to the regional audience has been one of the prime focus.” The company currently serves more than 1000 brands. It has published 1,40,000 plus short news stories covering 1,10,000 villages of the 6 lakh plus villages in India. And it flaunts more than 4.5 billion screen views per month.

This article was first published in The New Indian Express on 31st October 2019.

By Srividya Palaparthi | Express News Service

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