Google-backed Indian audio platform Kuku FM raises $25 million


Google-backed audio content material platform Kuku FM has raised $25 million in a brand new funding spherical because it seems to be to make deeper inroads with its audiobook choices within the South Asian market.

Indian billionaire and technologist Nandan Nilekani’s Fundamentum Partnership co-led the Sequence C funding in Kuku FM with Worldwide Finance Company, a part of the World Financial institution. Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures, Google, Krafton, 3one4 Capital, Indian Quotient and FounderBank Capital additionally participated within the new financing spherical, the six-year-old startup mentioned.

Kuku FM, which has raised over $60 million to this point, operates an eponymous audio platform that provides over 150,000 hours of content material in genres together with private finance, romance, faith, and self-help. The content material, obtainable in six Indian languages and English, is pertinent to the native context and has helped Kuku FM make deeper inroads with customers in smaller Indian cities, cities and villages.

The startup neither shows advertisements nor supplies complimentary content material, solely allowing customers to pattern components of episodes inside a sequence. As an alternative it costs 99 Indian rupees (equal to $1.2) for a month-to-month subscription and 999 Indian rupees for an annual one, granting customers limitless entry to its content material.

Lal Chand Bisu, co-founder and chief govt of Kuku FM, advised TechCrunch in an interview that the startup has greater than doubled its income within the final one 12 months and it’s at the moment on observe to generate $15 million income yearly. It’s aiming to turn into worthwhile by the top of subsequent 12 months, he mentioned.

Consumption of audio content material is more and more rising in reputation in India, because of the widespread availability of inexpensive smartphones and web entry. As huge numbers of Indians be a part of the net group, there’s a rising demand for content material that resonates with their preferences and is accessible of their desired language.

Amazon can also be amplifying its footprint with Audible in India, partnering with native manufacturing entities to counterpoint the platform’s choices.

Kuku FM has captured a wider market share because of its limitless consumption mannequin, moderately than charging customers for every bit of content material. Bisu mentioned the platform collaborates with greater than 30,000 skilled content material creators who present their titles to the platform. To make sure high quality, the startup employs a rigorous vetting course of.

“Kuku FM has created a distinct segment class which caters to the distinctive and quickly evolving calls for of the brand new digital natives of India,” mentioned Prateek Jain, a Principal at Fundamentum Partnership, in a press release. “Furthermore, Bisu and group have demonstrated an ideal understanding when it comes to making a enterprise mannequin with sturdy give attention to unit economics and strong fundamentals.”

Kuku FM plans to make use of the brand new funding to broaden its catalog, with a selected emphasis on broadening its instructional content material choices, mentioned Bisu.


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