Kaishu Story, a podcast content production company focusing on children’s bedtime stories, has recently closed a USD 50 million Series C funding round led by Baidu. Chinese education industry leaders New Oriental and TAL Education, as well as Shanghai Kunyan Investment, have also joined this funding round as co-investors, according to a press release by Kaishu.
The Beijing-based podcast studio was set up in 2014 by Wang Kai, a former host at the country’s national broadcaster China Central Television. The company finished its last funding round in March 2018 with a valuation of RMB 1.6 billion (USD 232.60 million), after raising RMB 156 million (USD 22.68).
The podcast studio has produced more than 9,000 stories since its inception and attracted more than 30 million listeners. Content on Kaishu Story’s own app has been played more than 4 billion times and the average listener’s daily playback time has reached 50 minutes, according to Chinese tech news site TMT Post.
With the new investment in Kaishu, Chinese search giant Baidu aims to tap on the studio to introduce more quality children’s educational content on its apps and platforms, especially on its smart speaker system.
Baidu sold about 3.3 million smart speaker units in the first quarter of 2019, dethroning Alibaba’s Tmall Genie, according to research firm Canalys.