China’s Fosun RZ Capital leads funding in social vernacular platform Headfone

By Narinder Kapur

  • 09 Jul 2019
Credit: Thinkstock

Bengaluru-based Headfone, a vernacular social audio platform, has raised $750,000 (Rs 5.15 crore at current exchange rate) in a seed funding led by Fosun RZ Capital, the venture capital arm of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International.

Axilor Ventures, the startup accelerator and seed fund led by Infosys co-founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal, also participated in the funding round, said Headfone in a statement.

The platform, owned and operated by Diacoustic Labs Pvt. Ltd, said it will use the funding to build its team, as well as improve its recommendation engine. It will also use the capital to scale its community across India and aggressively grow its user base.

Headfone co-founder and chief executive Pratham Khandelwal said the company is building its platform to make vernacular audio content more accessible.

Headfone co-founder and chief technology officer Yogesh Sharma said that while content personalisation had changed content consumption habits on the internet, audio had not yet caught up with other channels. “The ideal audio platform plays the matchmaker between content and listeners,” he said.

Fosun RZ Capital chairman Wilson Jin called Headfone India’s top vernacular audio podcast platform, adding the firm was optimistic about its growth prospects because of the potential of the audio segment in India.

Headfone was founded in 2017 by Khandelwal and Sharma, who are ex-Facebook employees. The company says anybody can record, share and listen to audio content on its platform. It says that a daily active user on its platform spends approximately 50 minutes listening to content.

Fosun RZ Capital

The venture capital firm was founded in 2013 and has its headquarters in Beijing. The firm is an independent fund and says it is committed to investing in high-tech and high-growth companies in major economic regions. It has offices in countries such as India, the United States (US), Israel and Singapore.

The investment in Headfone comes after Fosun RZ Capital led a $750,000 (around Rs 5.23 crore) seed funding round in human resources technology startup Kredily. Other participants in the round included Delhivery co-founder Mohit Tandon and Avinash Anand, former vice-president of engineering at human resources and payroll software platform Zenefits.

In December last year, the venture capital firm also participated in a $900,000 (around Rs 6.5 crore) seed funding round in Bengaluru-based PerkFinance, which facilitates loans through its lending partners to blue-collar workers.

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