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SmartNews Raises $230 Million in Series F Funding at a $2 Billion Valuation, Plans to Invest in U.S. Growth

·3 min read

SmartNews has the highest monthly time spent per user in the U.S. among all news apps¹

Funds will be used to accelerate growth and innovation, double headcount in U.S. market

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- SmartNews Inc., the global leader in redefining information and news discovery, announced today it has raised $230 million in its Series F round of funding. This brings the company's total capital raised to date to more than $400 million and secures its status as a "double unicorn" with a valuation of $2 billion, the highest for a standalone news app. The oversubscribed round includes existing investors as well as significant new ones who are aligned with SmartNews's vision and growth strategy.

(PRNewsfoto/SmartNews, Inc.)
(PRNewsfoto/SmartNews, Inc.)

"Since the company's inception in 2012, our vision has been to redefine the way we discover and engage with information by supporting diverse, quality journalistic sources, and serving our users a wide variety of timely and relevant content that helps improve their daily lives," said Ken Suzuki, CEO and co-founder of SmartNews. "This latest round of funding further affirms the strength of our mission and fuels our drive to expand our presence and launch features that specifically appeal to users and publishers in the United States. Our investors both in the U.S. and globally acknowledge the tremendous growth potential and value of SmartNews's efforts to democratize access to information and create an ecosystem that benefits consumers, publishers, and advertisers."

The Series F funding round represents another significant milestone for SmartNews, which has been the number one news app in Japan for multiple years running. In the U.S. market, SmartNews achieved the highest monthly user time spent among all news apps and saw its monthly active users (MAU) double in 2020. Since its last funding round in 2019, SmartNews has more than doubled its headcount to approximately 500 globally.

SmartNews will use the additional capital to double its headcount in the U.S., adding visionary engineers and leaders, particularly in Silicon Valley, New York and San Francisco. SmartNews will also invest to further expand its product offering in the United States, building on recent product successes like its Covid-19 vaccine dashboard, the innovative "News From All Sides" feature that allows users to easily access a range of political perspectives, and the comprehensive 2020 election tracker. The company is already working on a range of new product features focused on consumer health and safety to be released over the next several months.

"We are proud of what we have built and what the business has accomplished to date," said Suzuki. "The U.S. market will be a touchstone for further growth as we contribute to shaping a better future for quality journalism and exceptional information delivery on a global scale. Our users continue to make SmartNews their 'must use' daily information source, and we look forward to deepening our relationships with publishers as we expand our portfolio of valuable tools and content."

The diverse group of Series F investors represents a broad range of strategies and geographies. It includes new investors Princeville Capital and Woodline Partners, based in the U.S., as well as JIC Venture Growth Investments, Green Co-Invest Investment, and Yamauchi-No.10 Family Office in Japan. Existing investors who also participated in this round include ACA Investments and SMBC Venture Capital.

About SmartNews

Founded in 2012, SmartNews is a leading global information and news discovery company, dedicated to delivering quality information to the people who need it. SmartNews provides news that matters to millions of users thanks to its unique machine learning technology and relationships with over 3,000 global publisher partners.

For more information or to download the app, visit: www.smartnews.com

1 Data for average time spent per user per month according to App Annie, as of July 2021

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SOURCE SmartNews, Inc.