Kuku FM raises $21.8 million in funding led by Nandan Nilekani's Fundamentum

Audio streaming startup Kuku FM said it has raised $21.8 million in funding led by Nandan Nilekani’s venture fund Fundamentum Partnership. Kuku FM is Fundamentum’s first investment from the recently launched $227-million second fund. The new fund was primarily sourced from local entrepreneurs and their personal investment offices.

Apart from Fundamentum, Paramark Ventures has joined as a new investor in this round and existing investors, including Krafton Inc the South Korean gaming giant, 3one4 Capital and Vertex Ventures, have also participated in it. This is Kuku FM’s second fundraising in 2022, after it picked up $19.5 million in March led by Krafton Inc., along with Google, Verlinvest, and other investors.

Kuku FM said it will deploy the funds to expand its catalogue, strengthen its content creation ecosystem, and offer more language choices to listeners as it aims to achieve over 10 million paid subscribers base by end of next year.

Lal Chand Bisu, cofounder and CEO, Kuku FM, said its growth has demonstrated the Indian audience’s appetite for premium, unique, and immersive digital audio experiences. "We have seen rapidly growing interest for content in regional languages in tier II and III cities, semi-urban and rural segments. We aim to continue building a strong and diverse creator network that caters to this segment of the Bharat audience,” Bisu added. Vikas Goyal and Vinod Kumar Meena are the other founders at the firm which was set up in 2018.

In a statement, the company said it hosts over 1,50,000 hours of content in various formats, including audiobooks, stories, book summaries, courses, and podcasts with a majority of the content being exclusive to the platform.

“In its four-year journey, Kuku FM has built a business with robust fundamentals, a strong monetisation model, and a national creator-listener community. Kuku FM’s digital-first, tech-led approach, with its focus on the ‘Bharat’ audience fits ideally into our investment focus,” said Prateek Jain, principal at Fundamentum Partnership.