India’s first podcast-only media startup Suno India announced that prominent Tollywood producer Shobu Yarlagadda, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arka Media Works, had come onboard as an angel investor. Shobu is also the producer behind the Bahubali franchise, one of the biggest hits from the Telugu film industry ever, which was directed by SS Rajamouli. The investment comes as a boost in the arm for the two-year-old startup, which in 2019, had been awarded funding from the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) to expand its programming offer.
“At a time when most mainstream media is sensationalising news for the sake of TRPs, many news stories that deserve our real attention are left out. Suno India, through their podcasts is focusing and bringing to light social and current issues that really need to be discussed and debated. I am happy to be associated with this young team in a small way and wish them all the success”, a statement from Suno India quoted Shobu Yarlagadda as saying.
In the statement, the media outlet also said that it had recently crossed an important milestone of half a million listeners, with their combination of news reporting (The Suno India Show), vernacular storytelling shows (Katha Chepava Ammamma) and deep-dive thematic shows such as Raah, a career guidance podcast.
“My team and I are delighted. Suno India exists to shine a spotlight on under reported issues that are fundamental to our rights as citizens of India. His (Shobu) support and trust brings us one step closer to being an industry leader nationally and globally,” DVL Padma Priya, co-founder and editor of Suno India, said in the statement.
The core team at Suno India
The company hopes that the investment will allow Suno India to further capitalise on its position in the podcast industry in India by rapidly expanding its vernacular content.
Established in 2001, Arka Mediaworks has produced several successful and critically acclaimed television shows and films including the two-part Indian epic Baahubali recently, which was touted to have the highest-ever budget for an Indian film, with a combined budget of over $65 million for both films. The two films grossed over $ 385 million worldwide, besides gaining several awards, and Shobu has been instrumental in the team behind the franchise.
Started in September 2018, by DVL Padma Priya, Rakesh Kamal and Tarun Nirwan, Suno India has a small team of six including Ayesha Minhaz, Kunika Balhotra and Vaishali Pandiyen. It currently has 13 podcast shows in multiple languages.