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Kuku FM secures $25 million funding

Audio content platform Kuku FM said on September 20 that it has raised $25 million in Series C funding co-led by Nandan Nilekani’s Fundamentum Partnership and International Finance Corporation (IFC), indicating the growing investor interest in digital audio content.

This investment comes nearly a year after Kuku FM raised $21.9 million financing led by Fundamentum Partnership. Other investors in the company include Google, Paramark, Krafton, 3one4 Capital, V Cube Ventures, India Quotient and FounderBank Capital. The startup has raised around $72 million funding to date.

Kuku FM said it will use the funds raised to further strengthen its content ecosystem, increase the depth of content across Indian languages and invest in technology.

“India’s creative industries have the potential to reach diverse populations and unlock income opportunities at scale. Our partnership with Kuku FM aligns with our shared gender and inclusion priorities and aims to empower underrepresented voices, especially those of women, fostering upward mobility and sustainable economic growth,” said Wendy Werner, IFC’s India Country Head.

Prateek Jain, Principal at Fundamentum Partnership said that Kuku FM has created a “niche category that caters to the unique and rapidly evolving demands of the new digital natives of India”

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 more than 2.5 million active paid subscribers.

Kuku FM currently offers over 150,000 hours of content across audiobooks, stories, book summaries, courses, and podcasts in seven Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam on its platform, with a majority of the content exclusive to the platform.

The startup said the content offered on the platform spans across various genres including fiction and non-fiction audiobooks, personal finance, self-help education titles, entertainment, news, mythology, spirituality, learning and inspirational content, among others.

“In our journey towards building a business model focused on Bharat 2.0 segment and creating a sustainable business model with a clear path to profitability, Fundamentum team’s insights and support have been invaluable. We look forward to leveraging IFC’s valuable experience and expertise in scaling up Kuku FM’s business” said Kuku FM co-founder Lal Chand Bisu.

Kuku FM co-founder Vinod Kumar Meena said they will continue to focus on providing “sustainable livelihood opportunities” for creators in the country and aim to build a network of creators that mirrors its diverse listener community.

Rival Pocket FM had also bagged $65 million in Series C funding led by Goodwater Capital, South Korean internet giant Naver and existing investor Tanglin Venture Partners in March 2022. Moneycontrol

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