Krafton leads funding into Indian podcast app Kuku FM - Here's why

Audio platform KuKu FM
(Image credit: KuKu FM)

In an indication of increasing popularity of internet audio platforms in India, vernacular podcasts app Kuku FM has raised a Series B funding of $19.5 million led by South Korean gaming giant Krafton. So far KuKu has managed to raise $25 in funding.

Kuku FM, which claims to have 6 million active paid users, said it will use the funds to drive expansion and strengthen its content.

Aside from Krafton, the round also saw participation from existing investors such as 3one4 Capital, Vertex Ventures, and India Quotient, with Founder Bank Capital and Verlinvest joining as new investors.

Kuku is redefining traditional radio

"We are confident about hitting 10 million active paid users by the end of this year and 50 million paid users by 2025," said Lal Chand Bisu, Co-founder and CEO, Kuku FM.

Founded in June 2018, Kuku FM is trying to redefine traditional radio by making long-form audio stories, brief podcasts, fiction, and non-fiction audiobooks in regional Indian languages. Kuku houses audio content in categories like fiction, personality development, motivation, mythology, and spirituality.

It offers content in five languages (Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Gujarati). With 30,000 creators, more than half of the content is exclusive to Kuku FM.

"We strongly believe that Indian IPs and regional Indian languages content growth will unlock next big monetisation opportunity not just in India but even globally in the long term," said Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of India Division at Krafton.

Krafton is the company behind the popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), previously well known as PUBG.

Recently Krafton put $5.4 million (around Rs 40 crore) in the Pune-based mobile game development studio Nautilus Mobile. In 2021, Krafton invested $22.5 million in Nodwin Gaming to acquire 10% stake in the e-sport venture. Krafton’s other notable investments here include game streaming platform Loco, storytelling platform Pratilipi and gamified dating app Frnd.

Krafton, which owns PUBG Studios, Bluehole Studio, Striking Distance Studios, RisingWings, Dreamotion and Unknown Worlds, is pretty gung-ho on Indian startup scene, especially those connected with media and gaming. Hence these investments.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.