'Spotify for news' eyes seven-figure funding round
The co-founder of a fast-growing audio news start-up has told BusinessCloud the company will look to raise a seven-figure investment next year.
Founded in 2015 by CEO Gareth Hickey and CPO Shane Ennis, News Over Audio (Noa) allows users to listen to professionally narrated content and news articles from major publishers including Bloomberg, Financial Times and Business Insider.
Backed by "high earners" and "wealthy individuals", the Dublin-based tech start-up has recently secured the second tranche of its ongoing seed funding round, raising a total of €500,000 from its existing shareholders.
With plans in place to raise an additional €300,000 by the end of November, Ennis told BusinessCloud that the company is gearing up to close a substantial Series A round in the second half of 2019 to fuel its next stage of expansion.
"It's probably a little too soon to say but it will certainly be in the seven figures – that’s the range that we have in our heads," he said.
Noa will use the funding to grow the number of publishers available on the service from five to 12 by the end of the year. It also has ambitions to grow its 15-strong team across the US, UK and Ireland to 40 by the end of 2019.
Nicknamed the "Spotify for news", Noa claims to be the largest producer and provider of audio-journalism in the world.
"When we look at the global success of platforms who are doing simple things really well – be it Spotify, Uber or food apps like Just Eat and Deliveroo – their global reach is really strong and we're quite motivated by that," Ennis told BusinessCloud.
"The longer-term aspiration is absolutely to be that big.
"The ambition is for us is to partner with as many high-quality publishers as we can and therefore we create a product that has global appeal."
London is currently Noa's strongest market in terms of listeners, followed by Dublin.
It hopes to gain a presence in other major English-speaking markets including New York and currently has plans to begin testing a German-language version of its service later this year.
"As we raise more money and hire more talent over the next 12 months, it's going to allow us to build a really strong and comprehensive offering and enhance that end-user experience," Ennis said.
"We have a clear vision of the exact product we want to build."