SmartNews Valued at $1.1 Billion With $28 Million Round

SAN FRANCISCO — SmartNews, which operates a popular news app, has secured $28 million in funding led by Japan Post Capital. The Series E round brings the company’s total funding to $116 million to date, and doubles its previous valuation to $1.1 billion.

SmartNews said it has increased its user base in the U.S. 500% in the past year. SmartNews has 20 million active users per month in the U.S. and Japan that uses its AI technology to deliver timely, balanced coverage of politics, sports, world news, entertainment, and more. The latest funding round will be used to further drive growth in the U.S. and worldwide by continuing to build out the company’s global engineering team.

SmartNews works with 390 publishing partners that power its news-gathering app.

“We are very pleased with our strong progress in the United States,” said Ken Suzuki, Co-Founder and CEO of SmartNews. “We will continue to share our vision of informed, balanced media consumption with our current and future users in the U.S. and all over the world.”

In order to build a global engineering team, SmartNews has achieved several other corporate milestones in recent months: Ken Kutaragi, known as the “Father of the PlayStation,” has joined the company as an outside board director, and Youlin Li, previously in charge of the infrastructure of the Facebook News Feed, joined in May as the company’s Vice President of Engineering. SmartNews has also established three new tech development offices in Palo Alto, Fukuoka, and Shanghai to go along with its existing offices in Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York.