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Lightspeed-backed Pocket FM snags $103 mn in Series D funding

By Aman Rawat

  • 20 Mar 2024
Lightspeed-backed Pocket FM snags $103 mn in Series D funding
(From left) Pocket FM co-founders Prateek Dixit, Rohan Nayak and Nishanth S

Audio entertainment platform Pocket FM Wednesday said it has raised $103 million (Rs 857 crore) in Series D funding, led by existing investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Stepstone Group.

This latest round lifts Pocket FM’s total funding so far to $196.5 million. Prior to this round, it had raised $65 million in its Series C funding led by the US-based venture capital fund Goodwater Capital and South Korean internet conglomerate Naver Corporation.  

“What sets Pocket FM apart is its vision to set up a sustainable and profitable business, backed by its unique pricing strategy. They are not just building a new category but democratizing the entertainment landscape with a tech-driven approach,” said Harsha Kumar, partner at Lightspeed.

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Pocket FM plans to use the capital to strengthen its push into the US market and also support global expansion as the company plans to expand into Europe and Latin American markets in 2024, the company said in a release.

The company will continue to strengthen its exclusive content library and create a strong IP playbook by providing the writer community with a stage to share their unique and unheard stories, it said.

Pocket FM, which was launched in 2018, offers audio storytelling. It claims to have built the largest repository of exclusive audio series, adding that it has over 100,000 hours of content, including over 2,000 exclusive audio series and more than 400,000 episodes across genres and languages. 

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The company also claimed that it has surpassed $150 million (around Rs 1,240 crore) in annual recurring revenue (ARR), and is growing at 57% quarter on quarter. 

To be sure, its Indian entity had posted 7.5X growth in revenue from operations to Rs 131 crore in the financial year through March 2023 while narrowing net loss by 56% to Rs 76 crore. 

The company entered the US market in the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2022. It claims that its revenue has surpassed $100 million ARR in the US market. It has approximately 10 million registered users in the US.

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The company plans to leverage generative AI to scale its entertainment content offerings and build AI-powered personalized recommendations that enhance the overall user experience.

“We identified an unexplored space in the entertainment industry driven by an increasing demand for audio fiction and crafted a playbook to address this opportunity across every key market," said Rohan Nayak, chief executive officer and co-founder of Pocket FM. 

"Our robust content library of audio series and a strong consumption behaviour on the platform is shaping the future of entertainment. Our focus remains on tapping into unique and exclusive stories to solidify our leadership in this emerging category and create a strong IP playbook.” 

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