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SmartNews raises $10 million to continue its international expansion

Gunosy and SmartNews are two of Japan’s top news apps that have been fighting for dominance in the country, and now it looks like that fight is about to go global. Just one week after Gunosy’s $263 million IPO filing, SmartNews has raised $10 million of its own with a a pre-money valuation of $320 million. With this money, SmartNews will be able to continue its aggressive expansion into the United States. 

While general sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google stake their claims as news portals, apps focused squarely on reading news continue to duke it out. The latest development comes from SmartNews, a popular app founded in Japan that competes against the likes of Flipboard and Nuzzel in the news recommendation and aggregation space. The startup behind it has raised $10 million to expand its presence in the U.S — specifically to staff up its San Francisco office. It’s on the hunt especially for machine learning and data science specialists to continue honing its recommendation algorithms, co-founder Kaisei Hamamoto tells me. SmartNews, which now has 10 million downloads and 1 million monthly active users in the U.S., says that the $10 million in funding was made on a pre-money valuation of $320 million. As a point of comparison, Flipboard was last valued at $800 million back in was December 2013, when it last disclosed fundraising (Flipboard has raised just over $160 million to date).

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