Kaishu Story, a popular podcast content production company that focuses on children’s bedtime stories, has recently closed a US$50 million Series C funding round. The latest round of financing was led by Chinese tech giant Baidu.
According to reports, Chinese education industry leaders New Oriental and TAL Education, Good Future, and Kunyan Capital & Investment have also joined the latest funding round as co-investors.
Based in Beijing, Kaishu Story was set up in 2014 by Wang Kai, a former host at the country’s national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). The company produces high-quality children’s education content. Since its inception, Kaishu’s podcast studio has broadcast more than 9,000 stories. According to a popular Chinese tech news site, content on Kaishu Story’s own app has been played more than 4 billion times, and the average daily listening time of users has reached 50 minutes. The company currently has more than 30 million listeners. It is reported that the latest round of funding will enable Kaishu Story to further enhance its products and services for its users.
Meanwhile, it is reportedly said that with its new investment in Kaishu, Baidu aims to tap on the podcast studio to introduce more high-quality children’s educational content on its apps and platforms, especially on its smart speaker system, to reach more users with a completely different experience. The Chinese tech giant has recently topped the country’s smart speaker market dethroning industry top dog Alibaba’s Tmall Genie. It sold 3.3 million units in the first quarter of 2019, accounting for roughly 16% of all global smart speaker shipments. It is not surprising that the company entered the smart speaker market with its own brand Xiaodu only last year June.
Needless to mention, Kaishu Story finished its last funding round in March 2018 with a valuation of RMB 1.6 billion (US$232.60 million), after raising RMB 156 million (US$22.68 million). With the new funding round, the popular podcast production company will scale greater heights in its effort to bring high-quality educational content to children.