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Pocket FM secures $103 million in funding for global expansion efforts

ByYasmeeta Oon

Mar 25, 2024
Pocket FM secures $103 million in funding for global expansion efforts

Pocket FM secures $103 million in funding for global expansion efforts

In a significant stride towards global expansion, India-based audio platform Pocket FM has recently announced securing $103 million in Series D funding. This round was led by Lightspeed Ventures, with additional participation from Stepstone Group. The platform, which has previously garnered support from influential backers such as Tencent and Times Internet, is now setting its sights on the European and Latin American markets, following encouraging outcomes in the U.S. sector. With this latest funding, Pocket FM’s total raised capital reaches an impressive $196 million, valuing the company at $750 million.

Funding RoundAmount RaisedTotal Valuation
Series D$103 million$750 million
Previous Rounds$93 million
Data sourced from TechCrunch and company reports.

Pocket FM’s journey has been one of continuous growth and innovation. The company was in talks with Lightspeed last year for leading this very funding round, which has now come to fruition.

How Pocket FM Operates

At its core, Pocket FM operates on a unique business model, distinguishing itself from traditional subscription-based services like Netflix or Spotify. The platform offers audio series based on short episodes, with some content available for free and other premium episodes unlockable via in-app coin purchases. This pay-as-you-go approach has proven effective, despite not locking users into recurring payment cycles, by encouraging repeat purchases for content enthusiasts.

  • Pay-as-You-Go Model: Users purchase coins to unlock premium content, similar to in-game purchases.
  • Creator Economy Focus: Investment of $40 million in the Wattpad-like writing platform, Pocket Novel, to support creators.
  • Expansive Content Library: Over 100,000+ hours of content and 400,000 episodes across various genres and languages.
  • Strategic Expansion: Significant revenue growth from the U.S. market, with plans to expand into Europe and Latin America.

Pocket FM’s decision to expand its operations internationally comes on the back of its significant achievements, particularly in the U.S. market. The platform boasts over $150 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), with a substantial contribution of $100 million ARR from the U.S. alone. This success is attributed to the platform’s ability to engage users, who spend an average of 115 minutes globally and 135 minutes in the U.S. on the app, indicating a high level of user engagement.

  • Global User Engagement: Average of 115 minutes spent on the platform.
  • U.S. Market Success: Significant contribution to ARR with higher user engagement at 135 minutes.
Advancements in Generative AI and the Creator Economy

In alignment with its vision for the future, Pocket FM is exploring the potential of generative AI to enhance its offerings. The company has begun testing a tool that converts written content into audiobooks in the U.S., collaborating with Eleven Labs to offer a variety of AI-powered voices. This initiative is part of a broader effort to leverage AI for productivity and efficiency gains, especially for creators and writers.

  • AI-Powered Features: Testing tools for converting writings into audiobooks.
  • Support for Creators: Investment in AI tools to assist creators in producing high-quality content more efficiently.

With its eyes set on further growth, Pocket FM is not only expanding its content and technological horizons but is also engaging in discussions for its next funding round. Notably, the company is in talks with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADIA for a potential mega funding round, indicating strong investor interest in Pocket FM’s future prospects.

  • Global Expansion: Focused on adapting content to cater to local tastes in new markets.
  • Investor Relations: Engagement with potential investors for future funding rounds, showcasing strong market confidence.

Pocket FM’s recent Series D funding marks a pivotal moment in its journey, highlighting the company’s ambition to become a global leader in the audio platform space. Through its innovative approach to content consumption, support for the creator economy, and strategic use of generative AI, Pocket FM is well-positioned for further expansion and success. As the platform continues to evolve and adapt to new markets, it remains committed to delivering exceptional value to both users and creators alike, setting new standards for the digital audio industry.

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Featured Image courtesy of Inc42

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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