Vietnam-based podcast startup Waves has secured US$1.2 million in an Insignia Ventures Partners-led seed funding round, according to a recently made announcement. The Ho Chi Minh-based startup’s seed funding round was also participated by other investors, including Skystar Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in Indonesia that is backed by leading corporate groups, and Hustle Fund, a venture capital firm founded by former 500 Startups partners Eric Bahn and Elizabeth Yin that focuses on pre-seed and seed stage startups. It is understood that angel investors from both Asia and Silicon Valley were also involved in Waves’ seed financing.
According to the startup, which operates a podcast platform for delivering quality content to Vietnamese people, the latest injection of fresh funding will enable it to launch its user-friendly audio podcast app on popular mobile distribution platforms Google Play and the Apple App Store near the end of this month. Additionally, Waves said that the newly acquired funds will help the podcast startup to grow its business in the regional markets of Southeast Asia. As part of its mission to become a major provider of quality audio and podcast content for the region of Southeast Asia, the Vietnamese startup has said that it will form strategic partnerships and collaborations with local content creators in order to further the progress of podcasts, as well as for developing more authentic programs. Presently, Waves claims that its podcast platform is home to more than half a million different programs for users to choose from free of charge. The startup also offers a slew of programs that are made in collaboration with their partners, as well as a catalog of more than thirty original programs.
Yinglan Tan, who is Insignia Ventures Partners’ founding managing partner, said that they believe that the next opportunity for growth in the digital content space is audio content, as demonstrated by the presiding strength of audio platforms such as Spotify. He says that this next growth opportunity is gradually making its presence known in the region of Southeast Asia, hence the investment by the venture capital firm in the podcast startup Waves’ seed financing round.
Waves was established in 2019 by its founders Ben Minh Le and Kevin Gao with a mission to create and develop a super app for audio content of all kinds, such as high quality podcasts, audio entertainment, audiobooks and even for online education. The startup’s main interest for now will be on local language content, such as its vast library of Vietnamese language podcasts, in order to differentiate itself from the market, which is primarily dominated by the English language. Besides promoting Vietnamese podcasts on its platform, Waves also strives to be a space where local content creators are given the opportunity to express themselves and make money from their passion, as well as providing an advertising space for companies and businesses to promote and publicize their brands.
Moving forward, the podcast startup Waves will use the funds acquired from its seed funding round to hopefully transform the way audiences in Southeast Asia experience audio content in the same manner that Youtube has transformed the video experience for people. The launch of its audio podcast app later this month is a great start in that direction.