[Funding alert] Social audio platform Headfone raises Rs 22 Cr led by South Korean VC firm Hashed
Bengaluru-based social audio platform Headfone, owned and operated by Diacoustic Labs Pvt Ltd, has raised Rs 22 crore as part of its Series A round led by Hashed, a South Korea-based VC firm and Seung Yoon Lee, founder of Radish Fiction.
Existing investors include Axilor Ventures and Fosun RZ Capital also participated in the round. The startup said the capital infused will be utilised to fuel up the business and operations.
“This round of funding has been really encouraging and we welcome the contribution made by our partners in Hashed, Seung Yoon Lee from Radish, and our existing investors. Audio content is very different from video or text content because of how easy it is to engage with. The fact that we can engage with it while we perform other tasks makes it particularly appealing to consume throughout the day,” said Pratham Khandelwal, CEO of Headfone.
“The audio format is also special in a way that you as the listener become part of the story. On Headfone too, listeners love to become part of horror, fantasy and romantic stories,” Pratham added.
Founded in 2017 by former Facebook software engineers, Pratham Khandelwal and Yogesh Sharma, Headfone is a social audio platform where anyone can record, share, and listen to audios stories.
Since its launch, Headfone’s Android app claims to have been downloaded by over 50 lakh users across India. Approximately 70 percent of this base is distributed across Tier-II and Tier-III cities, where the appetite for vernacular stories seems to be fueling growth for Headfone.
With over one lakh creators creating and sharing audio content across multiple Indian languages, the startup claims to provide a platform to local storytelling talent across India and takes their creation to the masses.
This round marks Hashed's first investment in India. Founded in 2018, the firm has invested in marquee startups in South Korea such as Terra, a cryptocurrency startup, and Chai, the payment app in South Korea.
Simon Seojoon Kim, CEO of Hashed, said, “When a social app is working, it is often clear in the data. Young generations in India are sharing stories and discovering creators they love through Headfone. In such a diverse country like India in terms of both culture and language, user-generated audio contents are bringing the community together to connect.”
This also marks the first Indian investment by angel investor Seung Yoon Lee, founder of Radish Fiction, a serialised fiction startup based out of the US that has already raised over $60 million and boasts an impressive user base in the US.
Seung Yoon Lee, CEO of Radish, added, “With stellar growth numbers of both creators and listeners in their community, Headfone team is well-positioned to take the lead in the Indian audio market. I’ve been very impressed by their nuanced understanding of the space and their strong execution in serialised content production. I am excited to work with the team on creating India’s leading audio platform.”
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta