Pocket FM Startup Story: India’s Most Addictive Audio Series Platform

Have you ever been on a 10-hour-long train ride to Mumbai and felt the need to give your eyes a long-needed break from all the shows you just binge-watched? Pocket FM is right here for top-tier addictive auditory stimulation that requires no eye fatigue! At all! 

Founded by Prateek Dixit, Rohan Nayak and Nishanth S in September 2018, Gurugram-based Pocket FM is simply an Indian audio streaming service where you can listen to your favourite stories and podcasts in your preferred language whenever and wherever you want!

The platform encompasses millions of engaging stories and podcasts created by more than 500,000 content creators.

Beginning of Entrepreneurship

Rohan, the co-founder of Pocket FM, had always been pretty keen on building a content-driven platform. When asked about the need for the platform, he recalls, “When I started commuting for 3 hours a day, I started craving for entertainment through audio.

He also added that earlier, there were little to no creative outlets for audio entertainment. There was a surging demand for an outlet that could finally engage active listeners.

Even large platforms like YouTube weren’t potent for audio entertainment purposes, which was why the founders insisted on creating a platform solely dedicated to audio entertainment of all kinds.

The demand combined with the lack of resources led to the creation of Pocket FM in September 2018.

What does Pocket FM offer?

Whether you’re in your feels and wouldn’t mind going on an emotional rollercoaster, or if you’re in for the most exciting and mind-boggling stories that are guaranteed to take your sleep away, Pocket FM is rightfully made for you.

If reading books puts your eyes into a bit of a weary state, then listening to them might sound better. At Pocket FM, you have the liberty to choose from hundreds of categories ranging from true crime, fantasy, horror, suspense, thriller, and sci-fi, all the way to romance, betrayal, mythology, business and investment, spirituality and whatnot.

Content in Regional Languages

In the beginning, Pocket FM used to put out its content in just one language, Hindi. Around the time it was launched, immersive content in regional languages was next to non-existent.

Hence, the creators focused on collaborating with top content creators to diversify and incorporate regional languages as well. Their focus has always been to provide all-rounded, high-quality and well-produced content in Indian languages.

Adding more than 10,000 podcasts, audiobooks, and stories in 7 different languages, they built a strong base of incredible audiobooks which naturally attracted a lot of people to their content-driven platform.

Writers at Pocket FM

Oftentimes, it’s hard to monetize your creativity. Pocket FM can be the perfect opportunity for you. Rohan says that most of their top content writers are making a lot more money now with Pocket FM, than what they were making when publishing their books.

He says, “There are so many unique and unheard stories that are out there and there are so many talented writers, and audios are just giving a platform for these stories to reach millions of users.

He adds that Pocket FM is a stepping stone for all the gifted writers out there and that the platform also enables them to step into films and other profitable opportunities.

Pocket FM Startup Story

The initial year was full of trial and error and the founders experimented a lot in just the first year of their launch. They were keen on focusing on quality content over quantity. Hence, they only gained about 10,000 downloads in the first 18 months.

They then focused on what content worked best for the listeners and made tweaks accordingly. After looking at what worked and what didn’t and collaborating with talented content creators, they had an overall idea of the content they wanted to put forth which naturally helped them gain traction over the subsequent months.

To build a content-driven platform like so, it was equally important to prioritize audience retention; for which they needed high-quality writing which the writers very well delivered.

The amount of work that went into perfecting their content, and using user feedback to ensure quality content is what makes Pocket FM stand out. Now, they have over 50 million downloads from users worldwide!

And now, as of October 2022, after incorporating content monetization, their profit seems to be off the charts. “We are glad to have led this category creation with sustainable and profitable growth. As we successfully discovered the content monetization model in the audio space, our revenue has grown 10x to $25 million ARR in just 12 months. With the continued momentum and expected growth targets, we foresee another 4x growth in our revenue during our fifth year of operations, thus entering into the $100 million ARR club within five years of our operations,” says Rohan, CEO and co-founder.  

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