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  • Headfone raises USD 10 million in Series B Funding led by Elevation Capital

    Published on April 19, 2022

    Headfone, an audio OTT platform, announced today that it has raised USD 10 Mn in Series B funding led by Elevation Capital. The round also saw participation from Hashed, an existing investor, as well as prominent angels such as Ajit Mohan (Founding CEO, Hotstar), Biswa Kalyan Rath (Entertainer) and Anshumani Ruddra (Group PM, Google).

    Founded in 2018 by former Facebook software engineers, Pratham Khandelwal and Yogesh Sharma, Headfone is an audio OTT platform that primarily offers audio dramas in fiction genres like horror, thriller, romance, etc.

    Headfone onboards creators (writers, voice artists and sound engineers) and provides them with tools to create high quality content. The resulting content is released as audio shows, with some of the top shows running into 100s of episodes. This is done in a manner and cadence similar to TV shows, where a 10-15-minute-long episode is released daily, with each episode ending on a cliffhanger which hooks the listener into following the series.

    Pratham Khandelwal, CEO of Headfone said, “Unlike video or text, audio enables asynchronous & screen-free content consumption which allows listeners to consume the audio content throughout the day. Also, the popular fiction genres like horror, fantasy and thriller are really expensive to create and difficult to get right in video format whereas the same genres can be quickly produced in audio drama format, and still give an immersive and imaginative experience to listeners.”

    Yogesh Sharma, CTO of Headfone said, “Audio Dramas, so far, have been created by bringing together multiple artists in the same physical studio, and this makes it a very expensive and time-consuming process. But what we have built is a decentralized online platform where multiple artists, namely writers, voice actors and sound engineers seamlessly collaborate with each other to create audio dramas in a scalable, time-efficient and cost-effective manner.”

    There are currently 3 million monthly active users on Headfone with 52 minutes as average daily time spent per active user on the app. There are a total of 800,000 content pieces on the platform, which has been growing at a 10% CMGR for the past 2 years. Headfone is also the highest rated audio app on the Google Play Store with a rating of 4.8.

    Headfone has a unique community-driven, collaborative strategy wherein content gets created asynchronously rather than sequentially. For example, once the writer of a series readies the script for an episode, the platform’s algorithm will automatically match the script with high quality voice artists who can become the voices of the characters in the script. Once they have recorded their individual pieces, a sound engineer can then work on the material to produce the end product. This does away with the project management aspect of production and ensures that not only is the cost per content piece low (Rs. 100 per minute compared Rs. 7000 per minute on other audio platforms), the time taken to produce every episode is also lower (2-3 days per hour of content compared to 30 days on comparable platforms).

    Mayank Khanduja, Partner at Elevation Capital said “what stands out about Pratham and Yogesh is the product-first approach they have taken to generating high quality user generated content. The uniqueness of this approach has resulted in a tremendous amount of customer love for Headfone, which is evidenced by their best in class retention metrics. What is even more impressive is that they have gotten to this stage with a lean, 9-member team that is passionate about creating great audio content. We are convinced that this is just the beginning of great things to come for Headfone, and cannot wait for Pratham and Yogesh to revolutionize audio entertainment in India.”

    Headfone currently offers content in Hindi. The new funds will be used to diversify content offerings across languages and to expand across genres.

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