Korean Live Audio Stream Platform Spoon gets $40 million in Series B funding

Spoon Radio's target Audience is Gen Z.

Spoon, the world’s leading audio live stream platform, announced on Monday that it had raised $40 million in Series B funding. The latest funding will help the startup to accelerate its global expansion plans further. The round of investment has been led by KB Investment, a leading Korean VC, with participation from IMM Investment, SBI Investment, and a strategic investment from Naver. Wonjin Lim, Managing Director at KB Investment, has joined the company’s board of directors.

The latest funding comes amid Spoon’s rapid growth across Asia, the Middle East and most recently the United States. The user and revenue growth accelerated 300% and 400% respectively over the last year and the latest investment will help the company move into even more new markets.

“Spoon has been so successful because it introduced an innovative business model that social media desperately needs while still establishing real, human connections,” said Spoon CEO and founder, Neil Choi. “We have proven that our model works at a global scale, across many disparate markets, and look forward to significantly growing our community in the U.S. and other English-speaking markets as well as continuing to dominate in Japan and Korea,” Choi added.

Launched in 2016, Spoon introduced the concept of interactive audio broadcasting, targeting Gen Z. Spoon delivers an unfiltered and authentic broadcast experience tailored to its younger-skewing audience. With a unique business model based on real-time digital gifting to support its DJs, Spoon has become synonymous with radio for young people on mobile.

Since its debut, Spoon has demonstrated that its digital gift ecosystem works in multiple markets, with all different types of content. The company’s audiences appreciate the intimacy and the safety of its live talk environment. This is exemplified by the fact that its DJs are becoming significant influencers using just their voices. In Korea and Japan, for example, the term “Spooner” has become synonymous with an audio influencer in the same way that “Youtuber” is with a video influencer. Top Spoon DJs make over $100,000 a year.

As part of Spoon’s global expansion effort, Spoon recently hired Fernando Pizarro as Vice President, North America, a media and internet executive from Disney, Discovery Communications and Yahoo. Fernando will open Spoon’s US offices in San Francisco in the first quarter of 2020. This move demonstrates the company’s commitment to what it sees as its most important market for the future. The Spoon app is available in both the iOS and Google Play stores in the US.

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