Pocket FM Raises $103M to Fuel Global Expansion of Audio Entertainment Platform

Roman Janson Follow Mar 20, 2024 · 1 min read
Pocket FM Raises $103M to Fuel Global Expansion of Audio Entertainment Platform
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India-based audio platform Pocket FM has secured a whopping $103 million in Series D funding led by Lightspeed Ventures and Stepstone Group. This massive investment brings the company’s total funding to $196 million at a valuation of $750 million.

Pocket FM has found success with its innovative approach to audio entertainment. Rather than a traditional subscription model, it allows users to listen to some audio series and episodes for free while purchasing affordable “coins” to unlock additional content. This pay-as-you-go strategy has proved engaging, incentivizing listeners to keep exploring more stories they enjoy.

The funding will accelerate Pocket FM’s global growth ambitions. After seeing promising traction in the US market since its 2021 launch there, the company now eyes expansion into Europe and Latin America. The US has emerged as a major revenue driver for Pocket FM, contributing $100 million of its $150 million annualized revenue run rate (ARR) this year.

User engagement metrics are also impressive, with global users spending an average of 115 minutes per day on the platform, increasing to 135 minutes for US listeners.

Beyond audio shows, Pocket FM is tapping into the creator economy through its writing platform Pocket Novel. With over 250,000 writers on board, it aims for Pocket Novel to reach $100 million in ARR by 2025. The company is investing $40 million to grow this arm and attract more writers by enabling AI-powered voiceover capabilities to convert written stories into audiobooks.

“You need to filter out the noise and make sure you highlight the high-quality content for listeners,” said co-founder Rohan Nayak on leveraging AI responsibly. “The way we see AI is about unlocking productivity and efficiency gains for creators and writers.”

As Pocket FM scales, it faces the challenge of adapting content to resonate with local tastes across new markets according to Lightspeed’s Harsha Kumar. But its personalized recommendation algorithms could prove crucial for surfacing diverse voices.

With a warchest of fresh capital and ambitious worldwide plans, Pocket FM is well-positioned to captivate more audiences with its unique, bite-sized audio storytelling experience. The startup’s investor discussions for a potential mega funding round also hint at stellar growth ahead.

Written by Roman Janson Follow
Senior News Editor at new.blicio.us.