Podcast App Pocket FM Secures $100 Million Funding from Lightspeed

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Three points you will get to know in this article:

  • Pocket FM secures $100 million investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
  • Plans expansion in the US, discusses additional funding with ADIA.
  • Revenue surges to $160 million, aims for $100 million by 2025.

Introduction to Pocket FM

Pocket FM stands out as a beloved podcast application, offering an extensive array of podcast content accessible across all devices. Whether you’re an iOS or Android user, Pocket FM welcomes you with its intuitive design, making exploration and playback of your cherished podcasts a breeze. With this app, you’re empowered to download episodes for offline enjoyment, curate personalized playlists, and indulge in podcasts in your preferred language. What’s more, Pocket FM caters to your preferences, suggesting content based on your listening patterns, and enabling hassle-free subscription for automatic updates to your favorite shows.

Pocket FM Secures $100 Million Investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners

According to reports, Pocket FM, a platform specializing in audio technology, has successfully secured a significant investment of $100 million (approximately INR 829 crore) from the esteemed venture capital firm, Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Insiders familiar with the matter, as revealed to Techcrunch, disclosed that the fundraising event occurred recently, though the specific date was not disclosed.

The startup is currently engaged in discussions with the sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) to secure another substantial round of funding. This new infusion of capital aims to support Pocket FM’s ambitious plans for expanding its presence in the United States.

Pocket FM's Impressive Revenue Growth and Ambitious Targets

The talks are still in the early stages, and whether or not the agreement will come to fruition remains uncertain.

This significant fundraising effort follows reports of Pocket FM boosting its annual revenue to $160 million by the end of 2023, marking a remarkable 6 to 7 times increase year-over-year. The company recently expressed its aim to achieve $100 million in annual revenue worldwide by 2025.

Additionally, the platform’s pay-as-you-go option, catering specifically to customers in the US, has proven to be exceptionally successful, according to the report.

Pocket FM's Freemium Model and User Engagement

Established in 2018 by Nishanth KS, Prateek Dixit, and Rohan Nayak, Pocket FM stands as an audio book platform offering diverse content spanning various languages and genres including romance, self-help, and motivation.

Employing a freemium model, the platform utilizes a micro-transaction system, enabling users to purchase coins using their local currency for accessing episodes beyond the free limit. According to a report, listeners spend an average of more than 110 minutes daily on the platform.

Pocket FM's Funding History and Financial Performance

Before the latest funding round, the startup had gathered over $93 million across various funding rounds. Its most recent influx of $16 million in debt came from Silicon Valley Bank just last year. What’s intriguing is that this fresh round of funding follows reports from November indicating Pocket FM was on the verge of securing an $80 million investment.

Notably, the startup boasts backing from heavyweights like Tencent, Tanglin, Times Internet, Goodwater Capital, and Naver.

In the financial year 2022-23, Pocket FM’s India division managed to slash its net loss by a significant 56% compared to the previous year, totaling INR 75.7 crore. Meanwhile, its operating revenue skyrocketed by a remarkable 663%, reaching INR 129.7 crore from the previous year’s INR 17.5 crore.

Anticipation Surrounding Pocket FM's Funding Impact on Indian Startup Ecosystem

Although the $100 million funding round hasn’t been officially announced yet, it’s anticipated to inject a significant boost into the Indian startup scene. This comes at a crucial time when the ecosystem has been struggling to secure adequate capital over the last couple of years.

Moreover, this anticipated deal is poised to revitalize the dwindling number of mega deals (funding rounds exceeding $100 million), which plummeted back to levels seen before 2018 in 2023. Just last year, Indian startups managed a meager 23 mega deals, a stark contrast to the 60 in 2022 and the impressive 109 in 2021.

Pocket FM, an audio platform, secured a substantial $100 million investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners, aiming to expand operations in the US. Talks with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for additional funding are ongoing. The company’s revenue surged to $160 million in 2023, aspiring to reach $100 million by 2025. Its freemium model and pay-as-you-go option have been successful, driving user engagement. Recent reports show a significant reduction in net loss and a remarkable increase in operating revenue. The anticipated investment is expected to invigorate the Indian startup ecosystem amid struggles with capital acquisition and dwindling mega deals.

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