With the massive adoption and growth of audio content listeners in India, Kuku FM, a leading audio content platform today, announced that it has recently crossed 1 million active paying subscribers. Kuku FM has so far raised USD 25 million from blue chip VCs like Krafton, Verlinvest, Vertex, 3one4 Capital and IQ. India has emerged as the ultimate frontier for acquiring content subscribers with top OTT platforms having captured over a 100 million, mostly English educated, subscribers so far. With Kuku FM’s focus on regional languages, it is a product with ambitions of capturing subscribers from the remaining 1.2 billion Indians who are not English educated.
Founded by former IITians and Toppr executives Lal Chand Bisu, Vinod Kumar Meena, and Vikas Goyal, the platform has seen an unprecedented 27X growth in a short span of one year.
Lal Chandu Bisu, CEO and Co-founder, said “This milestone is a testimony of our commitment to become the go-to destination for audio content for every aspirational youth in this country. Our scalable platform, combined with inspiring content from different content creators, has enabled us to deliver consistent experiences to our listeners and provided a strong growth trajectory for our business. We are confident and bullish on reaching maximum Indian households and achieve 10 million paid subscribers in the next year.”
The three founders started Kuku FM in 2018 to equip the youth in small-town India with high-quality content in vernacular languages. Bisu, himself a son of a farmer, barely knew any English and even took his IITJEE in Hindi. The lack of access to the best content in the world in vernacular languages is something the founders have experienced in their own journeys and hence are truly motivated to solve for.
Kuku FM, named after the most talkative of birds, is an audio OTT platform where young people from across India come to listen to audiobooks and audio shows in their mother tongue. Kuku FM’s first subscriber was a grain merchant who wanted to grow his business and chose to learn strategy through Chanakya Neeti. Arun, a 23-year-old UPSC aspirant from Guwahati, is devouring biographies of personalities like Bhagat Singh, Genghis Khan, and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Ramesh, a 30-year-old from Indore, starts his day by listening to the summary of Atomic Habits so he can be more productive at his factory job. Every piece of content for these people is a lifeboat away from worrisome cold nights and boring warm afternoons.
By focusing exclusively on solving the user’s problems and not concentrating on advertisers, today, Kuku FM has over 1 million active paid subscribers. Amongst the 7 Indian languages that Kuku FM has, it has recently started audio content in South Indian languages which is seeing a MoM growth rate of over 80%. While other players have taken a top-down approach to the Indian market by first launching in English, Kuku FM has taken a bottom-up approach where it solves the need of the user whose condition is most dire. And therein, they have unlocked great value.
With 30,000 creators, 50 percent of the content on Kuku FM is exclusive to the platform and only available on Kuku FM. Kuku FM hosts 150,000 hours of content across audiobooks, stories, book summaries, courses, and podcasts on its platform, covering a wide range of genres in fiction and non-fiction like self-help, education, entertainment, personal finance, spirituality, inspiration and history. It currently offers content in 7 languages – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, and Marathi.