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Taiwanese podcast hosting website Firstory secures fresh funds from KKBOX

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Taipei-based podcast hosting company Firstory has announced that it recently closed a seed round led by KKBOX, Asia's leading music streaming service, with participation from DMC & Partners and Ta Ching Securities.

The platform, launched in 2019, features a one-stop solution that integrates all the necessary requirements for setting up a podcast - users could quickly establish their own podcast brands on Firstory even only with audio files on hand.

Firstory decided to team up with KKBOX partly because KKBOX has more than ten million users worldwide - all of them could be regarded as potential podcast listeners, the startup said in a Facebook post on 21st October.

The two companies did not disclose any financial details of the seed round in the announcement. According to a Meet report, KKBOX has become the largest single stakeholder in the startup after the latest round, with less than 50% ownership.

Apart from injecting fresh capital, KKBOX is also in talks with record companies to establish an exclusive intellectual property (IP) base for Firstory users. All Firstory podcasts will also be available on KKBOX in the near future, according to the report.

The ultimate goal of the startup is to build itself into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider that can satisfy any customer demand for audio technologies, Firstory founder Stanley Yu told Meet.

Given this, Firstory does not rule out the possibility of cooperating with other service providers, Yu said, without elaborating.

There is a significant growth in the proportion using podcasts in the last year, with Spotify overtaking Apple's position as the number one destination for podcasts in a number of countries, according to Digital News Report 2020 released by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The music streaming giant's move into podcasts is 'bringing audio programming to a wider and more mainstream audience,' the report said.

Taiwanese listeners and podcast promoters are quickly catching up with this trend. In the first half of this year (2020), the local podcast industry has seen a surge of Chinese-language programs by 2100%, according to data compiled by Firstory.

Chia-Erh Kuo
Contributor

Chia-Erh Kuo is a former business journalist, who chased news about Taiwan's capital markets, manufacturing industries, and the startup landscape. From energy transitions to international relations, her fields of interest revolve around how the real world works. Based in Barcelona, she is currently pursuing a master's degree in public policy.