With Google’s decision to shutter its popular RSS-aggregator Google Reader, the door opened for startups to deliver a replacement platform. Attracting millions of users since it launched in beta in October 2013, Russian startup Anews.com has established itself as one of the leading contenders in this market.
In order to start using the platform, users are required to sign in through one of their social-media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte, or Google+) or to sign up by email. Having signed in, users are presented with a list of categories, which they can select from in order to get started. From there, they can select from sources within a wide range of categories (although they cannot add URLs, apparently). What is interesting about this particular service is that it is possible to find other users and see who they follow or if they have liked or commented upon stories by clicking on various sources. The service is free to use, but the company tells me that they generate revenue through ads. The mobile sphere is key for most startups and these guys have embraced it, pushing out apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.
These guys have picked up solid backing from external investors, initially taking in $1.6 million from domestic backers TMT Investments and 101Startup. They later followed that up with another $2.7 million in a recent round from another group of Russian investors. In this case, the investment was obtained from Runa Capital, TMT, 101Startup, and a few private investors.
The company tells me that they have more than 2.3 million users, who access the service through the U.S., Russian, Ukrainian, French, and Sweden editions of the platform. However, they are not nearly satisfied and intend to increase their global presence with a focus on Latin America and possibly Asia. They are also planning a rollout of a re-designed web version of the reader.