Diacoustic Labs Private Limited, a Bengaluru-based startup that owns social audio platform Headfone, has raised $750,000 (Rs 5 crore at current rates) in a seed funding round led by Fosun RZ Capital, the venture capital arm of Chinese business conglomerate Fosun Group.
Axilor Ventures, the early stage investment firm and accelerator led by Infosys founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal, also participated in the round. Headfone was part of Axilor’s accelerator program.
The funds will be used to build the team, improve its recommendations engine, scale the community across India and grow its user base, the company said in a statement.
The platform was founded in 2017 by former Facebook employees Pratham Khandelwal and Yogesh Sharma. It enables users to record, share and listen to audio content. It brings podcasters, story-tellers, artists, musicians and motivational speakers on to the platform and connects them with the right audience. It also works with writers, voice-over artists, sound engineers and musicians to produce original audio content on the platform.
“As part of our daily routine, we spend a significant amount of time commuting, cooking, using computers or exercising. These are times when our eyes are busy or tired but our ears are free to listen. We see a strong demand for audio content at such times. Since the next hundred million Indians coming online will be more comfortable with regional languages as opposed to English, we are building Headfone for easing access to vernacular audio content,” Khandelwal said.
According to the company, the Android app has more than half a million downloads and its daily active user spends around 50 minutes a day on the platform.
"Headfone is the top vernacular audio podcast platform in India. Compared to visual content, audio content provides more opportunities to connect with the users. Besides, it is able to actively link users to fragmented scenarios, providing broader use cases. In addition, similar to the Chinese audio market, audio platforms have great development prospects in India, which is why we are optimistic about Headfone,” Wilson Jin, chairman of Fosun RZ Capital, said
Fosun RZ Capital is an affiliate of Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group. Fosun RZ Capital has investments in China, the US, and India. It invests at the angel through venture capital and growth stages, with a focus on internet technologies in finance, consumer, and business services. Current investments in India include startups such as Kredily, Kissht, Dehlivery and Ixigo.
Founded in October 2014, Axilor makes pre-seed investments through its accelerator programme and early stage bets from a $30 million seed fund launched last year. Axilor said that half of the seed fund will be dedicated to pre-seed investments and the other half will go towards seed-stage funding. Axilor's recent investments include radiology platform 5C Network (India) Pvt. Ltd, health-tech startup Medops Technology, business-to-business payments platform EnKash, and location-based local language social platform Khidki.