Subscription-based online media publication, The Ken has raised $1.5 million Series A round led by Omidyar Network. This is the first institutional round for the Bengaluru-based publication.
Founded in July 2016, The Ken provides one original narrative story every day (behind a paywall) for five days in a week. Notably, the publication also publishes a free story every week on Wednesday and Sunday.
Previously, the company had raised Rs 1.47 crore from a set of new angel investors including Siddharth Bhammar (Executive Director – JP Morgan), Anchal Jain (former MD FX Options – JP Morgan), and Murali A (MD – Graticule Asset Management Asia and ex-Fortis).
Incepted by veteran journalists Seema Singh, Rohin Dharmakumar, Ashish Mishra, and Deck App founder Sumanth Raghavendra – The Ken had earlier secured $400K from bluechip angels including Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Girish Mathrubhootham, Shan Krishnasamy and Pallav Nadhani amongst others.
Currently, it has 16 in-house writers and 19 guest authors who provide well researched long-form articles across segments such as technology, business, science, and healthcare. So far, the company claims to have published 450 original and deeply-reported stories.
Over the past couple of years, the subscription-led model has been gaining grounds in India. Large media companies such as Business Standard and Times of India are testing subscription-led model.
While Business Standard started offering selective articles behind the paywall in 2016, a couple of months ago, Times Group had launched subscription-led platform ET Prime.
Unlike past, digital media publications have been able to raise capital on premise of business merit in the past three years. Bangaluru-based tech media and startup platform YourStory has raised a little over $10 million in total funding across two rounds from Kalaari Capital, Ratan Tata, Qualcomm, 3ONE4 Capital and UC-RNT Fund.
Previously, other digital media platforms such as YouthKiAwaaz, ScoopWhoop, INC42, News Minute and Newslaundry had raised funding.