Berlin and London-based startup Informed earlier this week marked the launch of its news aggregation app, putting forward a subscription package offering news curated by humans, not machines, as well as access to premium articles that are usually paywalled.
Branded the "go-to-app" for journalism, Informed was set up by founders Benjamin Mateev, Martin Kaelble and Axel Bringéus. Last year, the trio set out with an idea to help tackle misinformation and fake news, while also letting news fiends fill up on enlightening content across any number of hot-button topics.
For journalists, the promise of Informed is the revenue split of its subscription model, augmenting their publication's own offer but with the added bonus of reaching readers who rarely shell out for online news content.
Having raised €6 million across seed and pre-seed phases, Informed worked hard to craft its product during beta testing. Much attention was paid to finding ways to present cherry-picked articles in the age of "news overwhelm", where making sense of key developments becomes more of a challenge.
The fruits of their labour were vindicated earlier this week as the app went live on both Apple and Google stores, bringing a smart news stand with highly reputable partners, among them are The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Economist.
Subscribers can either choose to access limited articles for free, or buy the premium tier for a €7.99 monthly fee, more cheaply available for €59.99 annually.
Informed is starting with a one-month trial offer to showcase the product, but wants to work toward scaling back free premium reads to seven days.
Machine learning in news aggregation has shown massive potential, for instance reducing hoax stories on COVID on social media platform Facebook during the pandemic. However critics say there's implications for free speech, with Facebook, Twitter and peers struggling to strike the right balance.
Informed's app eschews automation in favour of human curation by a fully-staffed editorial team, well versed in tasting global news. Playlists of diverse news content can be accessed, aggregating publishers both small and large, Western and from elsewhere in the world.
Benjamin Mateev, Informed's CEO, explained: "Our curation is done by humans, not purely algorithms.
"That's because we believe that smart human curation is the best way to provide different perspectives across the political spectrum, and to include a mix of niche and big publishers as well as a variety of Western and non-Western sources. All this with the goal of fighting filter bubbles and misinformation.”