The Journey of Newzera

Newzera
17 min readMay 28, 2024

Introduction and Overview

Newzera was founded with a bold vision: to revolutionize the way news is generated and consumed. Our primary goal was to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to create a platform that could deliver news that is accurate, timely, and personalized to each user. We aimed to automate the entire news ecosystem, from content creation to distribution, ensuring that users received the most relevant and up-to-date information tailored to their interests and needs. By doing so, we hoped to make news consumption more efficient and engaging, while also combating misinformation and enhancing the overall quality of news available to the public.

A Brief History of Newzera

Newzera’s journey began with a simple yet ambitious idea: to redefine news delivery through cutting-edge AI technology. Here are some of the key milestones that marked our path:

Hacking Era:

From a young age, I was captivated by how humans consume information. This passion drove me to major in Computer Science at IIT Kharagpur, where I published original research on analyzing facts and their relations. During college, I built a news recommendation system for Yahoo in 2013 and developed the world’s first social media AI robot to outpace humans in content discovery. My journey continued at Pinterest in 2019, where I designed a recommendation system to connect user-generated data. This lifelong dedication to understanding information dynamics led me to start Newzera in the early 2020s, transforming a hobby project into a groundbreaking venture focused on simplifying news for social consumption.

Beta Launch and Early Adoption:

After months of rigorous development and testing, we launched the beta version of Newzera. The platform quickly gained traction, attracting early adopters who appreciated our innovative approach to news generation. Within this period, we achieved around 10k+ monthly active users (MAUs).

Industry Recognition and Awards:

Newzera was certified by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under Startup India, becoming one of the few AI-based startups to achieve this recognition. We were awarded the “Pride of MP” by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and became one of the early members of the NASSCOM DeepTech Club. Newzera was recognized as the #1 startup in the world by AngelList and inducted into their early-stage quant fund.

Coverage of Newzera being awarded the Best Startup by AngelList

Additionally, we were one of the AI gamechangers at the GPAI summit where we presented our innovation to our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and represented India at GITEX 2022 as part of the top startups selected by NASSCOM India.

GPAI: https://youtu.be/NolD2umNi1k?si=MWrJEo_i2yRXpxfB

Coverage of Newzera being selected for the AI GameChangers Award for GPAI
Coverage of Newzera being selected for the AI GameChangers Award for GPAI
Newzera’s Stall at GITEX 2022 in Dubai

Expansion to Broader AI Applications:

As our technology evolved, we began receiving requests from various industries for custom AI solutions. This demand marked the beginning of our transition from a news-focused platform to a broader AI technology provider. Our work with an exceptional team from IITs, IIMs helped us refine our offerings and scale our solutions to meet diverse industry needs.

Major Achievements and Contributions

Newzera has made several significant achievements and contributions to the news industry, revolutionizing how news is generated, personalized, and consumed. Here are some of the key highlights:

- Democratizing News Access: We achieved our mission of democratizing news access by ensuring reliable, unbiased, and fact-checked real-time information for everyone, everywhere. This commitment to accessibility and accuracy set a new standard in the industry.

  • Introduction of NewzGPT: We developed NewzGPT, the world’s most advanced AI for news. This state-of-the-art large language model (LLM) understands news as content and maintains a trust score for publishers based on their history. NewzGPT’s guardrails effectively remove fake news, reduce bias, prevent hallucinations, and ensure safety and privacy, setting a benchmark for AI in journalism.

- Hyper-Personalization: Newzera offered a hyper-personalized news experience, using GenAI to tailor content to each user’s preferences. This personalization ensured that users received relevant and engaging news, enhancing their overall experience.

  • Multi-Format News Presentation: We pioneered the presentation of news in multiple formats — text, images, and videos — all driven by AI. This approach catered to diverse user preferences and consumption habits, making news more accessible and engaging.

- Elimination of Fake News: One of our proudest achievements was tackling the pervasive issue of fake news. Through our advanced AI and human-in-the-loop processes, we ensured 100% accuracy in removing fake news, thus restoring trust in media and news consumption.

- Scalability and Global Reach: The fully automated nature of our platform allowed us to scale effortlessly, reaching a global audience and providing news in multiple languages. This scalability demonstrated the robustness and adaptability of our AI technology.

  • B2C and B2B Success: In the B2C space, our flagship news app, Newzera, successfully delivered AI-driven news, free from fake news, and in multiple formats, while incorporating social features. On the B2B side, we provided Fact-check as a Service, Personalized Content Generation as a Service, and GenAI builder tools, driving significant revenue and industry impact.

Reflecting on the Journey

Newzera’s Team at the App Launch event

Changing Perception of News:

One of the biggest challenges was the perception that news is boring, especially among younger generations. Capturing their interest and making news relevant and engaging required innovative approaches. We leveraged AI to create personalized and multi-format content, including text, images, and videos, to make news consumption more appealing and interactive.

Combating Fake News:

The prevalence of fake news posed a significant challenge. Solving this issue was critical but complex. With NewzGPT, we developed advanced AI algorithms capable of detecting and eliminating fake news. However, ensuring the authenticity of data required collaboration with large enterprises or government bodies to access extensive datasets, highlighting the need for robust partnerships in this endeavour.

Monetization Challenges:

The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for news is relatively small, and people are generally reluctant to pay for news. This limitation made it difficult to achieve substantial revenue through traditional means. We explored several monetization strategies, including social media-style ads and native ads, but scaling these to a $100M ARR business proved challenging. The economics of the news industry required us to continuously innovate and adapt our business model to find sustainable revenue streams.

Scalability and Data Management:

Building a scalable platform that could handle vast amounts of data and deliver personalized content in real-time was a significant technological challenge. We had to ensure that our infrastructure could support global reach and multi-language capabilities, which demanded continuous innovation and optimization.

Future Outlook:

Looking ahead, I believe that Generative AI, as it becomes more affordable and intelligent, will be able to solve all the issues plaguing the news industry. AI will not only help in understanding news that is relevant to us but also in hyper-personalizing it and presenting it uniquely to our preferences in multiple formats — text, audio, video, AR/VR, etc. This would come at a lower price point, making it accessible to a broader audience. Innovative solutions around fractional billing or low-cost subscriptions could make paid news services viable for users.

My experience with Newzera reinforced the belief that while the news industry is fraught with challenges, it also presents immense opportunities for innovation. By harnessing the power of AI, we can address these challenges head-on, create new business models, and redefine the future of news consumption.

Expanding Horizons: A New Chapter

When We Realized Newzera’s AI Technology Had Broader Implications:

The realization that Newzera’s AI technology had implications beyond the news industry came relatively early in our journey. As we were refining our AI algorithms and enhancing NewzGPT’s capabilities, we began receiving inquiries from companies outside the news sector. These companies were intrigued by our ability to generate, curate, and personalize content with high accuracy and relevance.

Key Moments of Realization:

- Interest from Other Industries: Initially, it was the unexpected interest from various industries that opened our eyes to the broader potential of our technology. Companies in sectors such as finance, retail, entertainment, public sector, education, legal, and public relations saw the value in our AI-driven content generation and personalization capabilities. They approached us for custom AI solutions tailored to their specific needs.

- Success of Early Proofs of Concept: We conducted several paid proofs of concept (POCs) for these companies, which were remarkably successful. These POCs demonstrated the versatility and robustness of our AI technology in applications beyond news. For instance, financial firms wanted AI-driven insights and personalized communication with clients, while retail companies were interested in personalized marketing content and customer service automation.

- Early Innovation and Research: Early on, we trained our own large language model (LLM) based on GPT-2, even before generative AI became mainstream with the advent of ChatGPT. We developed a system using Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) trainer, generated proprietary datasets that could mimic news writing for short articles. This phase was particularly exciting as we upskilled ourselves, conducted cutting-edge research, and built these technologies specifically for news applications.

- Expansion of AI Capabilities: As we delved deeper into these projects, it became evident that the core technology we developed for news could be adapted to solve a wide array of problems across different industries. The same principles of content generation, personalization, and real-time data processing could be applied to create bespoke AI solutions.

- Market Demand and Traction: The growing market demand for AI solutions and the traction we gained from our early projects solidified our understanding that there was a vast opportunity beyond journalism. This market pull was a clear indicator that our technology was versatile and scalable, capable of addressing complex challenges in various domains.

Examples of Industry Interest:

- Finance Industry: Financial firms approached us to develop AI-driven systems for personalized client communication. They were particularly interested in using our AI to generate customized financial reports, investment insights, and market analysis for their clients. The ability of our AI to process vast amounts of financial data and generate accurate, tailored reports was a key selling point.

- Retail Industry: Retail companies were interested in leveraging our AI for personalized marketing campaigns and enhanced customer service. We developed AI systems that could analyze customer behavior and preferences to create targeted marketing content and product recommendations. Additionally, our AI-driven chatbots were used to handle customer inquiries, providing instant and personalized responses.

- Entertainment Industry: Media and entertainment companies explored our AI technology for content generation and curation. They used our AI to generate engaging content, such as articles, summaries, and social media posts, tailored to different audience segments. Our AI’s ability to create diverse content formats, including text, images, and videos, made it particularly appealing to this industry.

- Public Sector: Government bodies and public sector organizations showed interest in our AI’s fact-checking capabilities. They wanted to use our technology to verify information and combat misinformation in public communications. Our AI’s proficiency in detecting and eliminating fake news made it an invaluable tool for maintaining information integrity.

- Education Sector: Educational institutions approached us to create AI-driven personalized learning platforms. Our AI was used to generate tailored educational content, quizzes, and learning materials based on individual student needs and learning progress. This personalized approach helped in enhancing student engagement and learning outcomes.

- Legal Industry: Legal firms expressed interest in using our AI for automated document review and analysis. Our technology was capable of sifting through large volumes of legal documents, extracting relevant information, and providing summaries. This not only saved time but also improved the accuracy of legal research and case preparation.

- Public Relations Industry: PR agencies leveraged our AI for media monitoring and content creation. Our technology was used to track media coverage, analyze public sentiment, and generate press releases and other PR materials. The ability to quickly generate and disseminate content helped PR firms stay responsive and proactive in managing their clients’ public image.

From News to New Ventures: The Next Frontier

The decision to expand our focus from news to broader AI applications was driven by several key factors:

- Market Demand: As we continued to enhance our AI technology for news, we received numerous inquiries from companies in various industries. These organizations recognized the potential of our AI for their specific needs, from personalized content generation to advanced data analysis. The growing demand highlighted the versatility of our technology and its applicability across different sectors.

- Successful Proofs of Concept: We engaged in several paid proofs of concept (POCs) with companies outside the news industry. These POCs were highly successful, demonstrating the robustness and adaptability of our AI solutions. They provided us with valuable insights into the diverse applications of our technology and confirmed its effectiveness in addressing various business challenges.

- Technological Versatility: Our foundational technology, including NewzGPT and the AI models we developed, proved to be highly adaptable. Whether it was for generating personalized financial reports, creating targeted marketing content, or performing automated document analysis, our AI could be tailored to meet the specific requirements of different industries. This versatility opened up new opportunities for innovation and growth.

- Broadening Horizons: The realization that our AI technology could solve complex problems beyond journalism was both exciting and motivating. It allowed us to explore new avenues and apply our expertise to a wider range of challenges. This expansion aligned with our mission of leveraging AI to drive innovation and create impactful solutions across various domains.

- Innovative Potential: The potential to innovate and create value in multiple industries was a significant driving force. By broadening our focus, we could harness the full power of our AI technology, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and delivering cutting-edge solutions that could transform businesses and industries.

- Strategic Growth: Expanding into new markets provided us with strategic growth opportunities. It allowed us to diversify our offerings, tap into larger markets, and build a more resilient and scalable business. This strategic move positioned us to leverage our technological strengths and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

This transition marked an exciting new chapter in our journey. It was a testament to the versatility and transformative potential of our AI technology, paving the way for new innovations and broader applications that could revolutionize various industries.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

The Future of the News Industry with AI:

The future of the news industry, particularly with the integration of AI, holds immense promise and potential for transformation. Here are my thoughts on how AI will shape the future of news:

- Enhanced Relevance and Engagement: AI will play a crucial role in making news more relevant and engaging, particularly for younger generations who find traditional news formats boring. By leveraging AI-driven personalization, news platforms can tailor content to individual preferences, delivering news that resonates with each user. This hyper-personalization will make news consumption more engaging and interactive.

- Combatting Fake News: The challenge of fake news remains a significant concern. AI, with its advanced algorithms and real-time verification capabilities, will be instrumental in detecting and eliminating fake news. AI systems like NewzGPT can maintain trust scores for publishers, ensuring the authenticity and credibility of news sources. As AI technology becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to tackle misinformation more effectively, restoring public trust in the media.

- Multi-Format News Delivery: The future of news will be multi-format, catering to diverse consumption habits. AI will enable the generation of news content in various formats, including text, audio, video, and even immersive experiences like AR and VR. This flexibility will allow users to choose their preferred format, making news more accessible and engaging across different platforms.

- Cost-Effective Solutions: As AI technology becomes more affordable and efficient, the cost of generating and delivering news will decrease. This will make it possible to offer news services at lower price points, making them accessible to a broader audience. Innovative pricing models, such as fractional billing or micro-subscriptions, could also emerge, allowing users to pay for specific news segments or features they value most.

- Ethical and Responsible AI: The integration of AI in news will necessitate a strong focus on ethical and responsible practices. Ensuring user privacy, data security, and unbiased reporting will be paramount. News organizations will need to adopt transparent AI models and robust ethical guidelines to build and maintain user trust.

- Global Reach and Scalability: AI will enable news organizations to scale their operations globally, providing news in multiple languages and catering to diverse audiences. This scalability will allow news platforms to reach previously underserved regions, promoting informed decision-making and enhancing news literacy worldwide.

- Continuous Innovation: The news industry will continue to evolve with advancements in AI technology. From real-time data processing to generative models that can create in-depth analyses and investigative reports, AI will drive continuous innovation. This will enhance the quality of journalism, enabling news organizations to provide more insightful, comprehensive, and timely coverage.

- User-Centric Experiences: Ultimately, the future of news will be user-centric. AI will empower users by providing personalized, relevant, and trustworthy news, fostering a more informed and engaged society. By addressing the challenges of fake news, information overload, and declining news literacy, AI will help create a resilient and dynamic news ecosystem.

In conclusion, the integration of AI in the news industry promises to revolutionize how news is generated, delivered, and consumed. It offers the potential to enhance relevance, combat misinformation, and provide cost-effective solutions, paving the way for a more informed and engaged global audience.

Vision for the future

My experience with Newzera has profoundly influenced my vision in several key ways:

- Applying AI Expertise Across Industries: The innovations we achieved in the news industry can now be applied to various other sectors as the world becomes increasingly ready for generative AI. At Newzera, we were pioneers in developing AI-driven solutions even before generative AI became mainstream. This expertise will be instrumental in addressing the unique challenges faced by enterprises across different industries.

- Focus on Generative AI for Enterprises: In the ever-evolving world of generative AI, one recurring question from entrepreneurs and VCs is where the real value will accrue. From my perspective, the true value lies in vertical and hyper-personalized generative AI solutions. These solutions perform best when they deeply understand our data and integrate seamlessly with our existing tools. My new venture will focus on creating tailored generative AI solutions that cater to specific industry needs, leveraging data-driven insights to deliver exceptional results.

- Building on a Strong Foundation: Our journey with Newzera provided us with a strong foundation in both B2C and B2B markets. We gained invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities that entrepreneurs face, from developing cutting-edge technology to navigating market dynamics and scaling operations. This experience has inspired me to develop AI SaaS and service-as-a-software technologies that are supercharged with generative AI, designed to solve real-world problems for enterprises.

- Commitment to Ethical AI: The challenges of combating fake news and maintaining data privacy at Newzera emphasized the necessity of ethical AI practices. We will continue to uphold these principles, focusing on transparency, user privacy, and unbiased algorithms to build trust and credibility with our users.

- Interdisciplinary Collaboration: The success of Newzera was largely due to the collaborative efforts of a diverse team from various academic and professional backgrounds. This experience has highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, and I will prioritize building a team with diverse expertise to foster innovation and creativity.

- Vision for the Future: My vision for the future is shaped by the belief that AI will continue to evolve, becoming more intelligent, affordable, and accessible. This evolution will enable us to solve complex problems across different sectors. We will harness this potential, driving advancements that enhance user experiences, improve operational efficiencies, and create sustainable value.

In essence, what we did for the news industry can now be applied to all industries as the world is ready for generative AI. We have been builders in generative AI before it became a trend, and we want to leverage these skills to solve problems for enterprises. The journey with Newzera has inspired me to build service-as-a-software technologies supercharged with generative AI, aimed at delivering significant value across various industries.

Team Transition and New Beginnings:

As part of our strategic transition, we made some significant changes within our team. While a segment of our team is continuing with us into our new venture, a majority of the Newzera team has joined Azentio Software, a leading software products company headquartered in Singapore. This collaboration marks a new chapter for our talented engineers.

Azentio Collaboration:

Azentio Software partnered with Newzera for a strategic talent upgrade of its engineering teams. Twelve engineers from our team, hailing from prestigious IITs, have joined Azentio to help accelerate the engineering of its next-generation products. This move not only provided our engineers with new opportunities to innovate within a globally recognized fintech product company but also highlighted the exceptional talent nurtured at Newzera.

Karthik VPB, Chief People Officer at Azentio, stated, “Our mission is to get the best talent who can accelerate our journey of becoming a true global software product company by creating cutting-edge technology solutions for our clients. Under our strategic partnership with Newzera, twelve engineers from prestigious IITs have joined our company. We are pleased to welcome these engineers to Azentio and wish them a fantastic journey with us!”

A New Beginning:

This transition is not just about moving forward; it’s about expanding horizons and leveraging the strengths we’ve built over the years. The experiences and insights from Newzera will guide us as we embark on our next venture. We are committed to driving forward with the same passion and dedication that characterized our work at Newzera.

A Message to Newzera’s Audience and Supporters:

As we bring Newzera’s journey to a close and embark on new journey, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our audience and supporters. Your belief in our mission and your unwavering support have been the cornerstone of our achievements. Here are a few parting thoughts:

Thank You for Your Support:

Your trust and engagement have driven us to continually innovate and push the boundaries of AI-driven journalism. We are immensely proud of what we have accomplished together and grateful for the community we have built.

Commitment to Innovation:

Our journey with Newzera has reinforced our commitment to innovation and excellence. We will carry forward the lessons learned and the technological advancements we have achieved into our future endeavors. Our mission to leverage AI for positive impact remains unwavering.

The Future of AI in Journalism:

While Newzera’s chapter is closing, the future of AI in journalism is brighter than ever. We believe that the integration of AI will continue to transform the industry, making news more personalized, engaging, and trustworthy. The innovations we pioneered at Newzera will serve as a foundation for future developments in this space.

Expanding Horizons:

As we move forward, we are excited to apply our expertise in generative AI to new challenges and industries. The skills and knowledge we have gained will enable us to create impactful solutions that address real-world problems across various domains.

Stay Connected:

We encourage you to stay connected with us as we continue our journey. Your feedback and support are invaluable, and we look forward to sharing our future innovations and achievements with you.

Final Thoughts:

Thank you for being a part of Newzera’s story. Together, we have made significant strides in AI-driven journalism, and we look forward to what the future holds. Our journey continues, and we are excited to explore new horizons with the same spirit of innovation and excellence.

Here’s to new beginnings and endless possibilities!

--

--

Newzera

Newzera, is a love child of unflinching belief and vision of a better tomorrow. We’re here to create a world-class platform based on robo-journalism.