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[Update] Exclusive: Kuku FM Bags $19.5 Mn From KRAFTON, Existing Investors In Series B

[Update] Exclusive: Kuku FM Bags $19.5 Mn From KRAFTON, Existing Investors In Series B

Existing investors including 3one4 Capital, Shunwei Capital, Vertex Ventures, India Quotient, will be participating in this round of funding

The investment comes almost two years after it had bagged $5.5 Mn in its Series A funding round

Kuku FM as on its website claims to have over 1 Cr listeners and creators, with over 6 Lakh of premium listeners

Update| 10th March, 11:50 PM

After Inc42 reported on Kuku FM’s $20 Mn funding round from KRAFTON among other investors, the three-year-old vernacular audio platform today announced that it has raised $19.5 Mn led by KRAFTON. The round also saw participation from new investors – Verlinvest and Founder Bank Capital.

The startup intends to utilise the fresh capital to broaden its language offerings and consolidate content creation.


Original Story | Published On 6th March, 5:46 PM

Vernacular audio platform Kuku FM is in advanced stages of closing its Series B round of funding led by South Korean gaming giant KRAFTON. 

The audio tech startup is raising somewhere between $15 Mn – $20 Mn in its Series B funding round, people aware of the development have informed Inc42 on the condition of anonymity.  The round will also see participation from its existing investors including 3one4 Capital, Shunwei Capital, Vertex Ventures, India Quotient, along with angel investors. 

The investment comes almost two years after it had bagged $5.5 Mn in its Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures in participation with Shunwei Capital, India Quotient, and 3one4 Capital.

South Korean gaming giant KRAFTON has been actively investing in Indian startups for some time now. Earlier last month, KRAFTON invested $5.4 Mn in Nautilus mobile, a mobile game development studio wholly-owned by digital entertainment company JetSynthesys. It has also invested in Pratilpi’s Series D round worth $48 Mn and gamified dating app FRND last year. 

Founded in 2018 by Vikas Goyal, Vinod Meena, and Lal Chand Bisu, Kuku FM is a non-music audio platform that offers long-form audio stories to podcasts. Kuku’s offering covers a wide range of genres from fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, self-help education titles, entertainment, news, mythology, spirituality, learning and inspirations, stories, poems, and even jingles.

The startup as on its website claims to have over 1 Cr listeners and creators, with over 6 Lakh of premium listeners. The startup, which offers audio books in five vernacular languages including Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, among others, claims that its users have listened for over 10 Cr hours. 

Kuku FM competes against the likes of recently funded Pocket FM, Khabri, Headfone, among others.

While Pocket FM earlier this week grabbed $65 Mn in its Series C round led by GoodWater Capital, Naver and Tanglin Venture, Khabri last year had received $2.1 Mn in its Pre-Series A funding round. 

With the rise of Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Spotify in the last couple of years, the content consumption in the English language has increased at an stupendous level. However, India which is home to over 100 languages with 1,600 dialects, these foreign giants have understood the need to go regional. Kuku FM being one of the early movers in the space has definitely got an upper hand. 

According to a RedSeer report India’s podcast market is ‘the largest in the world’, with 1% of the total time spent by Indians on online entertainment accounted for by podcasts.

Stressing on the importance of regional language content consumption, a Google report mentioned that over 90% of the new Internet users in the country will prefer media consumption in their regional language. The report further hinted that Hindi speaking users will outnumber English speaking along with Bengali and Marathi speaking internet users soon.  The report further highlighted that around 70% of current Indian internet users prefer Indic languages over English, meaning that more content consumption will take place in regional languages. 

Following these trends, we have seen many Indian OTT platforms rise and produce content at a never seen speed before. Few examples would be Alt Balaji, Voot, Zee5, Sony Liv, Hoichoi, Aha, Sun NXT among others. Inc42 has decoded the OTT market in India. Click the link to read more