Mumbai-based podcast startup Kuku FM announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount from the dream team of VCs- 3one4 Capital, Shunwei Capital (a Chinese investment firm spun off from handset-maker Xiaomi), and India Quotient. This investment has raised the bar for the Kuku FM team.
The funds raised will be used to expand its content library and increase its user base.
In a statement Co-Founder and CEO of Kuku FM Lal Chand Bisu said, “This fund raise will help us in expanding our already diverse content library.” A 2012 alumnus of IIT-Jodhpur, Bisu is a two-time entrepreneur with a successful exit for Easyprep when it got acqui-hired by Toppr.
Founded by Lal Chand Bisu, Vinod Kumar Meena, and Vikas Goyal, Kuku FM is a podcast platform that is re-inventing traditional radio, by allowing listeners to discover new, emerging, diverse audio content, and engage with their favourite creators.
With 4.8 stars rating on Google Play Store, Kuku FM is the largest audio platform with more than one million listeners. The platform’s users clock 50 minutes a day, which is more than 2x of music apps in India. With more than 2,100 podcasts, it has grown into a family of 1,000 plus creators in just a year.
Why choose podcasts?
As content consumption is shifting sands, audiences are increasingly drawn to content that is diversified, valuable, entertaining, and can be consumed as they multi-task regular chores or are just on-the-go.
Vikas Goyal, Co-Founder of KukuFM said, “People lose countless hours to mundane activities such as commuting, chores, and staring at their phones. What if we could turn these little blocks of unallocated time into a mind-space well filled? These are moments of learning, joy, reflection, and even memories.”
Kuku FM’s podcasts include diverse genres - education, entertainment, news, mythology, spirituality, learning and inspirations, stories, poems, and even jingles!
Vinod Kumar Meena, Co-Founder of Kuku FM, said,
“Our goal is to democratise audio content. By providing production, distribution and marketing support, we want to empower creators to monetise content, grow the audience, and connect with fans." Also from IIT Jodhpur, KukuFM is Vinod’s second venture after Easyprep.
With everyone from Spotify to Wynk, majorly focussing on non-music content on audios, music fans increasingly want more than just audio. Platforms like Kuku FM are aligned with this surge as they get-set-take on these music streaming giants.
Introducing non-music content like stories, audiobooks on the phone, etc., Kuku FM offers a platform to some of the best content creators in India. This also includes famous feeds like Quora and Quorans from Quora, Dainik Bhaskar, etc.
Some of the other favourite shows on Kuku FM are Rich Dad Poor Dad, Bhagwat Geeta, Ramayan, and Horror Stories.
While the platform’s content is mainly in Hindi, its roots are vernacular. A study by Google shows nine out of 10 searches on Google will be in regional languages in the next five years.
“We all come from small towns in Rajasthan where people constantly listen to audio content. As regular podcast listeners, we always felt a huge gap in Indian audio content. We felt that there was no place to listen to Indian shows or stories or famous poetry, etc., in our native languages. We also started noticing that everyone around us was looking for ways to reduce screen time and always had earphones on. All these observations coupled with the steep rise in internet penetration made it the right time to enter the audio market,” Bisu said.
The platform is sprucing up to provide production, distribution, and marketing support for its creators.
“We knew people prefer content in their regional language over English. So we decided to test our hypothesis by launching an MVP with Hindi audio content. The response from the get-go was overwhelming. People loved consuming news, stories, spiritual, and mythological content. Our engagement and installation graphs started going up, and we haven’t looked back ever since,” Vinod added.
(Edited by Suruchi Kapur Gomes)