Audio content platform Kuku FM has raised a Series B funding of $19.5 million led by South Korean gaming giant Krafton, the maker of popular games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds popularly known as PUBG and its India version called Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI).
The round also saw participation from existing investors such as 3one4 Capital, Vertex Ventures, and India Quotient, with Founder Bank Capital and Verlinvest joining as new investors. With this round, Kuku FM has raised a total of $25 million to date.
The startup said it will use the funds raised to broaden its language offerings and consolidate content creation.
Interestingly, this announcement comes on heels of rival Pocket FM bagging $65 million in Series C funding led by Goodwater Capital, South Korean internet giant Naver and existing investor Tanglin Venture Partners on March 3.
Started in 2018 by Lal Chand Bisu, Vinod Meena and Vikas Goyal, Kuku FM provides content creation tools to its users enabling them to create, develop and post content. It claims to currently have over 30,000 creators on its platform and 6 million active paid users.
Kuku FM currently offers over 150,000 hours of content across audiobooks, stories, book summaries, courses, and podcasts in five languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati on its platform.
The service covers various genres from fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, self-help education titles, entertainment, news, mythology, spirituality, learning and inspirations, stories, poems, and jingles. The startup claims that over 50% of its content is exclusive to its platform.
“We have seen an unprecedented consumption of audio content amongst users in our country with 70% users coming from Tier 2 cities. With this momentum, we are confident about hitting 10 million active paid users by the end of this year and 50 million paid users by 2025,” said Kuku FM CEO Lal Chand Bisu.
“We are very excited to support them (Kuku FM)in their journey of building a strong creator and listener ecosystem which continues to grow at an amazing pace creating many unique local IPs,” said Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of India Division at Krafton, Inc.
“At Krafton Inc., we strongly believe that Indian IPs and regional Indian languages content growth will unlock next big monetization opportunity not just in India but even globally in the long term and Kuku FM team is best placed to capture this opportunity in the audio category,” he added.
Over the past year, Krafton has made several startup investments in the country. This includes mobile game development studio Nautilus Mobile, game streaming platform Loco, esports firm Nodwin Gaming, Indian language storytelling platform Pratilipi and audio romance and friend discovery startup FRND. Money Control