Murdoch may invest big in Indian digital space


Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is currently in advanced discussions with the founding promoters of the start-up for a strategic investment, which could even end up in a controlling interest, reports the Economic Times. The global media giant has been branching out of its traditional publishing businesses with investments in newer ventures especially in digital and consumer internet properties. helps retail users make informed financial decisions by providing a free platform comprising informative and interactive videos, customised financial calculators and other content that can be used as a starting point of the needs analysis and the financial planning process. They primarily focus on an individual's crucial financial decisions -retirement planning, children's education, home buying, life and health insurance. Interestingly in India, 70% of all research for key financial decisions begin online.

Murdoch-may-invest-big-in-Indian-digital-space is an initiative of FinDirect Services Private Limited (FinDirect) - a firm founded by Manish Shah and Gaurav Roy . So far the duo have themselves invested over Rs 50 lakh in developing the platform, supported by a team of six. The start-up has 100,000 users and is looking for growth capital for its next phase of expansion.

Manish A Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, told the Economic Times, "We have been looking at external growth capital to expand our product offering and to further build it out. So far the two founders have funded the project entirely on their own. We are discussing with several potential investors. Beyond that I cannot comment on specific details or discussions."

The fund raising is to further help in building the data analytics and technology platform for even more customised data like city and neighbourhood specific historical pricing and rates; expanding the team and strengthen the marketing and brand building efforts. The company is targeting a million visitors a year from a current monthly run rate of 25,000 while 30% of its visitors are repeat.

Murdoch's tactical investments in recent times coincide with the company’s strategy to aggressively expand its internet presence in key markets to grow digitally and globally, making technology a canvas for content.  In September, it acquired Move Inc, an operator of real estate listings website for $950 million in cash. Other recent acquisitions in the Asia-Pacific region include a stake in employment listings portal Seek Asia. The company, through REA, an online real estate services provider in Australia, has forged partnerships in China and Hong Kong, besides buying a $100-million stake in, which has a network of sites across Asia, including in India.

Globally, News Corp consolidated its digital strategy with buyouts like Storyful, a social media news agency, and romance novel specialist Harlequin, which accelerated the international digital expansion of HarperCollins, its publishing arm.

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