Local news app News Break raises $115M

The popular news app News Break is announcing that it has raised $115 million in new funding.

The press release claims this round makes News Break “one of the first new unicorns of 2021,” but the company declined to disclose its actual valuation.

Founder and CEO Jeff Zheng said that when he started the company in 2015, the goal was to differentiate itself from other news aggregation apps by focusing on local news, and to “help or empower these local content creators.”

To be clear, you can find similar stories in News Break that you’d see in other news apps (there’s a whole section for coronavirus news and this morning you’ll see plenty of stories about yesterday’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol), you’ll also see many stories that are highlighted specifically based on your location.

“Technology is interweaving with every aspect of the company — in how we empower local publishers and local journalists to generate content more effectively and to reach an online audience more effectively,” Zheng said. “We have AI tools help to provide all these relevant articles … We have location profiles and what you’re most interested in, which we basically match against the content.”

The local approach seems to have paid off, with News Break reaching the top spot in the News category of the U.S. App Store multiple times (it’s currently ranked number four). The startup says it’s currently reaching 12 million daily active users.

News Break previously raised $26 million in funding. The new round was led by Francisco Partners, which is taking a seat on the News Break board. IDG Capital also participated.

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