Audio series platform Pocket FM has been growing rapidly and this is evident from its increasing user base. Its Android and iOS apps have amassed around 33 million downloads in 2023 and over 13 million in the past three months, according to market insight platform Sensor Tower. The strong growth is also attracting investors’ attention and the firm nearing a new funding round.
Pocket FM is in late-stage talks to raise $80-100 million in a new financing round, according to three sources aware of the discussion. “Lightspeed growth fund is likely to co-lead the round with some other investors. The deal has been in the works for the past several months and its terms have been finalized,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity.
Lightspeed is an early backer of Pocket FM along with Tanglin Venture and Times Internet. Sources outline that Lightspeed would invest in this round through a global growth fund which also backed B2B e-commerce platform Udaan previously.
The potential round would be the first equity funding for the Bengaluru-based company in 2023. Pocket FM raised $16 million in debt from Silicon Valley Bank in May this year. It has raised $94 million in equity capital to date.
According to sources, the firm’s existing backers including Tanglin, Goodwater and Naver will also participate with sizable contributions. “Besides India, the company will deploy funds to hack growth in global markets,” said the second source who also requested anonymity.
Queries sent to Pocket FM and Lightspeed on Wednesday didn’t elicit any response. We will update the story in case they respond.
Pocket FM facilitates long-form audio content including audio shows, stories, and novels. After the US, the startup is now eyeing to expand its global presence to more countries.
To be sure, the size and terms of the deal may change at the last moment.
While Pocket FM claimed to hit an annualized revenue run rate of Rs 175 crore or $25 million in November 2022, it’s yet to report FY23 financial numbers. According to the startup data intelligence platform TheKredible, the company posted Rs 17 crore in revenue and Rs 171.6 crore loss during FY22. The firm competes with KuKu FM, Awaz, and Headfone among a few others.
Kuku FM recently scooped up $25 million in its Series C round co-led by The Fundamentum Partnership and International Finance Corporation (IFC). The firm’s revenue from ops rose to Rs 41.2 crore during FY23.