Vietnam’s audiobook start-up raises over one million dollars


(QNO) - Fonos, a Vietnamese audiobook start-up, has got USD 1.1 million over two rounds of seed funding, led by Singapore-based AngelCentral Syndicate.

Fonos co-founders Xuan Nguyen and Oscar Jesionek
Fonos co-founders Xuan Nguyen and Oscar Jesionek

Other investors participating in the round are HustleFund and iSeed, alongside prominent local angels, including Thai Van Linh- a well-known investor on TV show Shark Tank Vietnam.

Fonos will use the new funding to expand its library with products and services such as audiobooks, book summaries, guided meditations, and new types of audio and written content.

Founded in 2020 by Oscar Jesionek and Xuan Nguyen, Fonos becomes better and better known in the Vietnamese audiobook space with standardised audio recordings by professional narrators.

Fonos is now focusing on 10-15-minute publications and offline reading options in different genres, including fiction, classics, economics, and start-up. Non-fiction is the most popular type.

According to Fonos CEO Jesionek, the app will bring something great to its listeners and his company is making its library match users’ requirements.

Fonos claims its exclusive rights to hundreds of best-sellers by both foreign and Vietnamese authors. It has also formed partnerships with many leading publishers such as Tre Publishing House, Alphabooks, Thai Ha Books, Nha Nam, and Dong A.

Despite social distancing due to Covid-19, Fonos witnessed a 5x increase compared to the beginning of the year. In August, there were 80,000 app users.

There has been an emergence of audio content market in Southeast Asia in recent years.

Vietnam, with a population of over 90 million and the smartphone penetration rate in the top 10 globally, is one of the fastest-growing markets for digital mobile-first content.

eMarketer 2019 data showed over 300 million digital-based listeners in different countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

So, Fonos is also paying attention to other markets in Southeast Asia. However, Fonos is not planning to go abroad right now because Vietnam is still giving it much room to grow.


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