Mumbai-based audio streaming platform Dose FM has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, Abhishek Damodara, founder and CEO told Inc42. He said that the funding has come in from an AngelList syndicate led by Utsav Somani and other angel investors such as Abhishek Madhavan of Loco and MPL.
Damodara said that the funds will help the company focus on growth, after investing heavily in developing the tools for audio content creators, as well as the platform where this content is shared.
Founded in 2018 by 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.
Dose FM was also a part of LightSpeed India’s Extreme Entrepreneur programme last year and got access to mentorship and masterclasses.
Dose FM: Choosing Audio Over Video
Talking to Inc42, Damodara explained that he was an avid podcast listener but during his commute in local trains of Mumbai, he felt that podcasts are information heavy and not designed for casual consumption. “That is when I felt that audio, for India, needed to be entertaining and passive,” he added.
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Damodara says that Dose FM is meant to make podcasts and other audio content more accessible and fun for creators and the goal also includes building a community of fresh audio content creators.
“Dose FM has become an intimate and platform of choice for more than 10K creators who are now performing poetry, reading out their stories, singing, offering advice to listeners in the fields of singing, astrology, medicine, spoken english etc from the comfort of their homes. We believe that the future of radio is in the houses of Bhopal and Warangal not the studios of Mumbai and Delhi,” he said.
“More than 60K shows have been created on the platform so far. We are live in Hindi and launching regional languages soon,” he added.
India’s Growing Audio Content Market
Music outranks all other interests or hobbies for online consumers in India, according to a Nielsen report outranking sports and food with 94% of online consumers stating they listen to music throughout the year.
And the market is only growing if the launch of international streaming services is any indication. India is the nineteenth largest music market in the world, as per the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and many are pegging it to break into the top 10 by next year. A report on the growing audio OTT industry values the Indian audio OTT market at $280 Mn. Revenues from the audio OTT industry contributed to 67% of the total recorded music revenue in India.
Dose FM began by aggregating Hindi language podcasts at first, however, it realised that the problem with audio is not that people don’t listen to audio, the problem was on the supply side. “Our turning point was when we took the decision to focus on creators and making audio creation as simple as possible. And thanks to that decision, we have added 10K+ creators in the last four months,” Damodara explained.
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.
Dose FM directly competes with players such as Anchor and Lizhi FM, who are in the business of creating audio creators. In India, the company competes against podcast startups such as Hubhopper, Khabri and music streaming apps such as Gaana and Saavn.
“We see a room to build the radio of the future and innovate given that the next billion users get their content from their smartphones,” Damodara says.