While there is an increase in video consumption and screen time, London-based startup Curio focuses on audio. As we are constantly distracted by smartphone and computer screens, this startup has come up with an experience that lets people get smarter, become more empathetic to those around them, and feel happier. And, this is possible with audio!
Secures €7.6M funding
Curio, the audio content platform that offers a curated library of expert journalism has secured $9M (nearly €7.6M) in Series A funding. This round was led by Earlybird, along with participation from Cherry Ventures, Draper Esprit, and Horizon Ventures. This investment follows the $2M (nearly €1.6M) investment that it previously raised from Cherry Ventures, 500 Startups and private angel investors – bringing the total amount raised to $11M to date.
The London-based startup plans to deploy this investment to strengthen its presence in the US and UK markets. It is also planning to expand to other English speaking parts of the world including India, Australia, and South Africa. The company has partnered with leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, The Washington Post and more.
Also, Curio will work closely with thought leaders to bring co-produced series and guest curation into the app. With the intention to offer personalisation, the startup wants to use more than 2 million monthly data points to improve AI-led personalisation.
“We want to help everyone become wiser, empathetic, and fulfilled. I believe learning about ideas and insights shaping our future, and stories that move us can do exactly that,” says Govind Balakrishnan, Curio co-founder and CEO. “I’d never have imagined when growing up in India and listening to the BBC on shortwave radio, that I’d one day work there, let alone found a startup that is building the future of screenless media and empowering publishers in the process” he adds.
Srikant Chakravarti, Curio co-founder and COO, says, “We have also developed a mix of curation and machine learning personalisation. With this combination, we believe that Curio can revolutionise how we all consume media and relate to it.”
Fabian Heilemann, a partner at Earlybird, will be joining Curio’s board. “Over the last five years, a boom of new technology brought exponential growth to the audio industry, impacting how media is consumed and produced. We, at Earlybird, share Curio’s vision of disrupting modern journalism through curated audio formats, and I am very excited to join the board. Being an early investor in the crowd-publishing platform Inkitt and a former consumer-tech entrepreneur myself, I am proud to support the exceptional team at Curio in scaling internationally” says Heilemann.
Founded in 2016 by Balakrishnan, an ex-BBC strategist, and Chakravarti, a former solicitor, Curio provides an opportunity for people to learn from current world events in real-time via audio stories from reliable publications.
While working with BBC, Balakrishnan noticed that exceptionally written pieces were getting lost into endless feeds of unorganised content. He realised that the world was not lacking compelling stories nor insights; it needed a more straightforward and engaging way for people to discover them. This instigated him to conceptualise Curio.
Talking about the challenges he faced while setting up Curio, he tells Silicon Canals, “ The main challenge has to be related to starting a business from scratch. There’s no one with an absolute answer to what’s right and wrong. So you need to keep on trying, iterating, dropping ideas that you once thought were great, and most importantly, keeping focus, staying curious, and asking questions. Most of all you have to be passionate about the problem you are solving as you end up spending an awfully long time on it!”
The Curio app is free to download and provides monthly and yearly subscriptions costing £5.99 and £44.99 respectively for those who want unlimited access to the content library and listen to unlimited stories. Notably, Curio was named the App of the Year by Google and also featured in the Apple Keynote launch event. In 2020, Curio has already been featured over 220 times on the App Store across the world.
Image credits: Curio