India’s Pocket FM Raises $103 Million in Funding to Expand Audio Series Globally

Pocket FM, a fast-growing audio entertainment startup based in India, said it banked $103 million in Series D funding as it looks to boost its presence in the U.S. and expand into Europe and Latin America.

The round — which brings Pocket FM’s total funding to date to $196.5 million — was led by previous investor Lightspeed Ventures with participation from StepStone Group. Other investors include Tencent, Times Internet, Tanglin Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital and Naver.

More from Variety

The company said the new funding will strengthen its push into the U.S. market and also support global expansion into Europe and LatAm markets in 2024. Launched in 2018, Pocket FM focuses on producing original and unique audio series across multiple genres including romance, horror, thriller and drama. It offers some series or episodes for free, with others available for in-app purchase in its apps for iOS and Android.

Pocket FM claims its library comprises more than 100,000 hours of content, including over 2,000 exclusive audio series and more than 400,000 episodes across genres and languages. The company said it has an annual revenue run rate of more than $150 million (including more than $100 million in the U.S.) and recorded over 20 million transactions in 2023. Globally, listeners spend an average of over 115 minutes daily listening to Pocket FM content, according to the company. U.S. audiences are the most engaged, spending over 135 minutes daily with its content; Pocket FM says it has about 10 million registered users in the U.S.

“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,” Rohan Nayak, CEO and co-founder of Pocket FM, said in announcing the new funding. “Our robust content library of audio series and a strong consumption behavior 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. This latest funding validates our vision and the possibilities we bring to disrupt the industry.”

Lightspeed partner Harsha Kumar commented, “What sets Pocket FM apart is its vision to set up a sustainable and profitable business, backed by its unique pricing strategy. It emerges as a great reference for the entertainment landscape, with its capability to demonstrate strong unit economics. They are not just building a new category but democratizing the entertainment landscape with a tech-driven approach.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.