Curio, the flourishing audio platform that offers a curated library of “expert” journalism, announces it has closed a $9 million in Series A round funding. The round was led by Earlybird, with participation from Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures, and Horizons Ventures.
Founded in 2016 by Govind Balakrishnan, an ex-BBC strategist, and Srikant Chakravarti, a former solicitor, London-based Curio offers a curated library of journalism translated into and presented as audio, letting listeners get their daily fix of news and analysis. Over 50 publications are curated on the app including the likes of The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Financial Times, and specialist titles such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, and Aeon.
“We are here to help people learn through quality journalism and great stories,” says Balakrishnan. “Curio is a premium audio platform with a curated library of expert journalism. It provides listeners with stories and insights on critical topics shaping our world, helping them learn and grow.
“Journalism has come to be narrowly associated with breaking news. However, it encompasses thoughtful opinions, insightful analyses, and bold investigations. Some of the biggest ideas shaping our world are being discussed by opinion formers on our publisher partners, and offer an unprecedented opportunity for consumers to learn and grow. Audio allows people to go deeper and learn as they go about their everyday lives”.
That thesis appears to be resonating with users. Balakrishnan tells me that Curio’s largest subscriber group is 24-35-year-olds and the services reach roughly the same number of women and men. “Over 60% of our current subscribers are not existing podcast/audio listeners,” he says. “In this sense, we see a big opportunity in helping a broader range of people who are interested in quality journalism”. Noteworthy, 70% of Curio’s audience is outside the U.S. and roughly 40% is non-western markets.
To that end, Curio says it will use the injection of capital to strengthen its position in the U.S. and U.K. markets, while also expanding to other English-speaking parts of the world, including India, Australia, and South Africa. It also has a number of co-produced series and guest curations in the pipeline, alongside what it describes as “AI-led” personalization and commissioning based on over 2 million monthly data points.