Y Combinator-backed fintech startup ClearTax has announced the acquisition of Mumbai-based audio streaming platform Dose FM for an undisclosed amount.
Archit Gupta, chief executive officer of ClearTax said that the purpose of this acquisition is to utilise the team’s potential to build mobile focussed products for simplifying financial lives of businesses and individuals. Post-acquisition, the four-member team of Dose FM will work with the ClearTax team.
Founded in 2011 by Archit Gupta, Raja Ram Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki, ClearTax provides a range of services to clients including tax preparation, e-filing, accounting and investment planning solutions for individuals and businesses. The Bengaluru-based start-up has raised $68 Mn in funding since its inception in 2011 and counts Composite Capital, SAIF Partners and Sequoia Capital among its investors.
Founded in 2018 by Abhishek Damodara, Akhil Appanna, and Rishabh Harit, Dose FM lets users create and share audio clips and shows across a range of interests. At present, Dose FM offers a live audio creation tool for creators which helps them interact with listeners and co-host shows with their friends. It claims to have more than 30K active listeners and 10K creators.
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Talking to Inc42, Gupta said that the purpose of acquiring Dose FM was three-fold: founders and team fitting into culture; focus on mobile and local languages and their recommendation engine. “The company is getting huge demand from smaller cities and towns from mobile. With government’s focus on digitisation, tier 2 and 3 markets are relying on mobile for GST etc.They have worked very closely in those areas and have a strong understanding of their customer base,” he added.
Dose FM was also a part of LightSpeed India’s Extreme Entrepreneur programme last year. It raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from an AngelList syndicate led by Utsav Somani and other angel investors such as Abhishek Madhavan of Loco and MPL.
“With experience in building consumer products for the Indian market, we resonated with Cleartax’s mission of building mobile-first solutions that will impact crores of Indian business owners and help simplify their lives,” said Abhishek Damodara, CEO and founder of Dose FM. Gupta told us that the Dose FM team will take a call on the Dose FM app and may shut it down.
ClearTax claims to be used by over 5 Mn Indian taxpayers to e-file their tax returns. The company has earlier said that the ClearTax GST Software is currently used by 6 lakh businesses, 60000 CAs and tax professionals, and over 1000 large enterprises.
The audio industry has been constantly under transformation, driven by a shift in technology to digital and by changes in the way listeners are consuming music and other content. With audiobooks by Amazon and Google creating buzz as well as music streaming players such as Gaana and JioSaavn leveraging podcasts, audio content creators have a multitude of platforms to create their shows.
However, how ClearTax leverages audio-focussed content for its next phase of growth will be an interesting watch. Between 2015 and Q1 2019, the total investment in Indian fintech startups was $7.62 Bn, out of which 25.49% ($1.94 Bn) was for lending tech startups, according to DataLabs by Inc42.