After elevating $16M in funding, CastBox plans to repair podcast discovery

Extra individuals than ever earlier than are listening to podcasts, however as they quickly discover out, discovering new ones is a cumbersome course of that lacks the serendipity customers take without any consideration in different apps. CastBox needs to repair that by turning into “the YouTube of audio.” The podcast participant for iOS and Android, which has raised $16 million in funding thus far, is launching a brand new audio search characteristic at the moment that makes use of pure language processing to let listeners seek for key phrases and matters throughout greater than 50 million episodes.

Founder and chief government officer Xiaoyu Wang needs CastBox’s in-audio search to make discovering related sections of audio as straightforward as looking in textual content. The characteristic helps English proper now and Wang says the corporate needs to good it earlier than increasing into different languages. CastBox’s funding features a just lately closed $12.eight million Sequence A spherical led by Qiming Enterprise Companions and IDG Capital with participation from SIG China, GSR Ventures and Zhenfund.

With the addition of in-audio search, CastBox hopes to change into the breakout podcast participant for iOS and Android. It can begin co-producing and releasing authentic content material this quarter and its monetization plan features a premium choice with further options.

CastBox is headquartered in Beijing, with places of work in Hong Kong and San Francisco, and claims that its podcast participant has been downloaded greater than eight million occasions. Although most of CastBox’s customers are English audio system, Wang says she determined to base the corporate in China due to the engineering expertise there.

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Earlier than founding CastBox in early 2016, Wang labored at Google in Japan and Dublin. She began tuning into podcasts to check Japanese and sustain with the information, however had hassle discovering a participant that supported totally different languages and gave personalised suggestions. Many had been barely greater than lists of podcast RSS feeds.

“I couldn’t discover an app in a number of languages, so I needed to obtain MP3s and manage them. It was difficult and like creating an audio blackhole until I remembered to hearken to them,” she says.

To face out from different podcast gamers for Android when it first launched, CastBox pitched its app to “podcast addicts” after which paid shut consideration to their suggestions, including new options rapidly and resolving all points inside a day. As their early listeners started recommending CastBox to their buddies or on their very own podcasts, CastBox’s Android app began to achieve traction. It then launched a model for iOS, however since Wang realized that it could be tough to compete with iTunes, which many listeners already use as their default participant, the startup determined to give attention to refining its discovery options.

Along with sorting podcasts by the standard parameters, like an episode’s launch date, CastBox’s advice engine considers every consumer’s search historical past and their listening conduct, resembling which episodes they listened to of their entirety and loved sufficient to share on social media and which of them they closed out of rapidly.

The startup will use its Sequence A funding on advertising, producing authentic content material and hiring engineers.

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