In a sign of the growing popularity of internet audio platforms in India, vernacular podcasting app Kuku FM has raised $19.5 million in Series B funding led by South Korean gaming giant Krafton. So far, KuKu has managed to raise $25 in funding.
Kuku FM, which claims to have 6 million paying active users, said it would use the funds to spur expansion and bolster its content.
Besides Krafton, 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.
Kuku redefines traditional radio
“We are confident of reaching 10 million active paid users by the end of this year and 50 million paid users by 2025,” said Lal Chand Bisu, co-founder and CEO of Kuku FM.
Founded in June 2018, Kuku FM tries to redefine traditional radio by creating long-form audio stories, short podcasts, fiction and non-fiction audiobooks in regional Indian languages. Kuku hosts audio content in categories such as fiction, personality development, motivational, mythology, and spirituality.
It offers content in five languages (Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati). With 30,000 creators, more than half of the content is exclusive to Kuku FM.
“We believe that the growth of Indian IP and regional Indian language content will open up the next big opportunity for monetization, not just in India, but even globally in the long term,” said Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of India division at Krafton.
Krafton is the company behind the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), formerly known as PUBG.
Recently, Krafton invested $5.4 million (about Rs 40 crore) in Pune-based mobile game development studio Nautilus Mobile. In 2021, Krafton invested $22.5 million in Nodwin Gaming to acquire a 10% stake in the esports business. Krafton’s other notable investments here include game streaming platform Loco, storytelling platform Pratilipi and gaming dating app Frnd.
Krafton, which owns PUBG Studios, Bluehole Studio, Striking Distance Studios, RisingWings, Dreamotion and Unknown Worlds, is pretty keen on India’s startup scene, especially those related to media and gaming. Hence these investments.