Planet GoGo: A Startup that Pays You For Reading News

Contrary to the idea of traditional wisdom about consumption of media, many surveys have found out that people consume information according to the topics and speed of delivery. There are basically two things that determine how one intakes that information or event: the path they choose to get there and the idea behind the subject. Be it politics, art, health, technology or business, people will always choose the topic they prioritise to be important for self gain. The impression that with boundless choices, the populous will only follow a few topics they’re interested in, with sources they trust and sources that agree with the conception built inside their minds. This idea is generally defined as filter bubble. Moreover, in a country like India where the mobile technology is still developing and adoption of smartphones is increasing by the day, trends show the interest of people is more inclined towards reading news online as it is fast, offers filters and some or the other to agree to the previous notion of the event. Language is one of the biggest barriers the country is facing, not only that but infrastructure of mobile data is still weak. What if there was an app that could pay the user back for reading news, in form of balance or data? To fix the problem, Planet GoGo came into being.

About

Founded by Daman Soni and Rajat Gupta in November 2015, Planet GoGo is a lock-screen app for content discovery that delivers personalised content and news to Android users. Talking about its inception, Daman said, “The idea came up when my driver wanted to read some news in Hindi and he didn’t have data or the knowledge from where he could access news in local language. Then we came up with this idea of developing a content platform for casual news and giving the data back to the user.” So everytime a user swipes right the news changes, and if swiped left the user is redirected to the news page. So, every time one swipes left they earn these points which can be exchanged for recharge or postpaid bills, added Daman.

Rajat-Daman

From L-R: Rajat Gupta & Daman Soni

Before starting Planet GoGo, Daman used to head LINE for the India market and was responsible for strategic partnerships, marketing and developing unique offerings for the Indian market for the Line suite of apps. Previously as a Co Founder at PK Online Ventures, Daman successfully led the company to create unique services in digital content & marketing. He headed the Adchakra Ad Network and made its presence felt by developing partnerships with leading brands and extending its reach to over 60% of the Indian audience online with its cross channel ad network. Daman completed his MBA from ISB Hyderabad and Engineering from NIT Rourkela.

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Rajat is a techpreneur with a strong expertise in media and technology. Prior to Planet GoGo, he headed the User Acquisition and Gaming division at LINE India. He has been instrumental in taking LINE up to No.1 mobile platform on both Android and iOS that acquired 30+ million registered users in India. In the past, he was engaged in consultative media sales of complex media platforms for around 9 years. He is also the co-founder of two companies in mobile marketing space and has been able to raise funds for the same from listed funds. He strongly believes that congruence of media and technology can solve big problems of emerging economies.

Monetisation & Traction

The company is monetising through advertising. “We’ve pioneered a new type of advertising format which has not been used by anyone in India right now, ‘Full page Native Advertising’.” Full page Native advertising is basically an article or a video advertised online with an intent to promote a product and in this case the product is news.

ScreenshotsThe company claims to have 70,000+ organic users. Daman said, “We currently support six regional languages, our hypothesis states that the next 200 mllion users who’ll start using mobile will not read the news in English, so we’re focussed more on regional languages.”

Funding & Market

The company raised an undisclosed amount of funding from HT Digital Media Holdings and North Base Media in December last year. Daman stated that they’re looking to raise $2 million in the next round and is currently in talk with investors.

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According to a report, in 2014, the smartphone mobile data traffic alone stood at 1.73 EB per month (69% of global mobile data traffic), which is expected to grow 10-fold from 2014 to 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60%. Tablet mobile data traffic will grow 20-fold from 2014 to 2019 (CAGR of 83%) to reach 3.2 EB per month. With infrastructure improving and growing access of smartphones, there’s a lot to tap-in.

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