Castbox, a technology-fueled podcast app announced the close of a $13.5 million Series B funding with the new goal of reaching 2 million daily users on the platform.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, podcast apps available today. Castbox is one of them. Founded by a former Google employee, Wang Xiaoyu, the startup just closed a $13.5 million series B funding, led by SIG China, with the participation of other existing investors such as IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and GSR Ventures. The podcast app have successfully raised $29.5 million until now.
The success of Castbox, which has 1.8 million daily users and which has been installed more than 15 million times, is held in its technological advances. The platform chose machine learning and natural language processing to put some unique features in place. The personalized recommandations, depending on prior listening behaviors, are quite groundbreaking for instance. Instead of typing podcasts names or topics in the search-bar, users can now search for specific words, sentences, or even quotes. Thanks to recent voice recognition technologies, Castbox actually transcribes the audio content and indexes it. So instead of going through titles, series or playlists to find a particular episode or a particular quote, listeners only have to type the sentence they are looking for. The app then puts specific extracts forward and plays them starting 30 seconds before the relevant quote comes up.
“We’re investing into original programming and strategic partnerships with creators”
The additional funding will certainly let the company develop new technological features such as this one. But Wang Xaioyu also announced original programs coming up on the platform. Named “Castbox Originals”, these podcasts will also be distributed through other major podcasts apps, such as Apple or Spotify. They will also include adds, a new way for Castbox to make money.
Upcoming shows include “Off Track with Hinch and Rossi” starring Indy drivers James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi, made in partnership with INDYCAR, and “Heard Well Now”, made in partnership with influencer music label Heard Well. Both are designed to drive new audiences towards Castbox. Here race cars fans and teenagers. Wong Xaioyu explained that the company is “investing a chunk of the new capital into original programming and strategic partnerships with creators”. Her new goal ? Launching more than a dozen Castbox Orginals and reaching 2 million daily users on her app in the new few months.
For now, Castbox employs 52 full-time employees and plans on growing even more throughout the year.