Audio content platform Kuku FM has scooped up $25 million in its Series C round co-led by The Fundamentum Partnership and International Finance Corporation (IFC), with participation from Vertex Ventures.
Kuku FM had last raised $21.9 million in Series B1 funding led by the Fundamentum in September 2022. Other investors in the Mumbai-based startup include Google, Paramark, KRAFTON, Inc, 3one4 Capital, V Cube Ventures, India Quotient and FounderBank Capital.
According to data intelligence platform TheKredible, it has raised more than $70 million to date.
Kuku FM will deploy the fresh funds towards further strengthening the content ecosystem, increase the depth of content across Indian languages for what it calls ‘Bharat 2.0 audience’ and focus on technology.
Founded in 2018 by Lal Chand Bisu, Vikas Goyal and Vinod Kumar Meena, Kuku FM makes money through paywalled subscriptions for its audio books to individuals and businesses. It offers a wide range of audio content spanning multiple genres such as business, self-help, personal finance, historical, religion, entertainment and fitness.
Currently, it claims to have more than 2.5 million paid subscribers.
Kuku FM’s revenue from operations rose to Rs 41.2 crore during FY23 from Rs 4.4 crore in FY22. The sale of subscription services for the content offering was the only source of revenue for the firm in the last fiscal year. The company spent a massive Rs 95 crore on marketing and advertising which elevated its losses by 2.23X to Rs 116.5 crore during the last fiscal year.
The company competes with Pocket FM, Awaz, Headfone, Pratilipi and Gaana to some extent. In May, Pocket FM raised $16 million in funding in a debt round from US-based Silicon Valley Bank. The company claimed to clock 12X revenue growth last year, surpassing $25 million ARR (annualized revenue run-rate) in October 2022.