Kuku FM, a vernacular podcasts app, has raised $5.5 million led by Vertex Ventures, a fund owned by the Singaporean government, in an indication of increasing popularity of internet audio platforms in India.
Existing investors Shunwei Capital, India Quotient and 3one4 Capital also participated in the round, a press statement said.
The company was founded by Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur alumni Lal Chand Bisu, Vikas Goyal, and Vinod Kumar Meena. The platform, rolled out in 2018, houses audio content like audiobooks, book summaries, learning courses and stories in categories like fiction, personality development, fiction, motivation, mythology, and spirituality.
Kuku FM co-founders Vikas Goyal, Vinod Kumar Meena, and Lal Chand Bisu (L-R)
With data rates falling in India, Kuku FM has seen phenomenal growth, said co-founder and chief executive officer Bisu. According to stats shared by the company, its users grew 10 times, while the app was downloaded 1.5 million times in the last year alone.
Daily users spend an average of 53 minutes on the app every day, more than double that of the largest music streaming counterpart, added Bisu.
“While a lot has rightfully been said about the opportunity in the content space in India, we have really not seen many companies vying for the share of ear of the Indian consumer. We believe that there is a fairly large opportunity in catering to the audio content needs of the regional language user,” said Piyush Kharbanda, partner at Vertex Ventures.