The 'Spotify of journalism' has raised fresh funding to add more newsmakers to its ranks

NOA has landed a further €300,000 to ramp up its offering internationally.

By Jonathan Keane Reporter, Fora

AUDIO STARTUP NEWS Over Audio (NOA) has secured a further €300,000 in seed funding to attract more publishers and expand its international presence.

Dubbed the “Spotify of journalism”, the Dublin-based app provides audio versions of news and feature articles to subscribers. The Financial Times and Bloomberg are among its first clients.

The latest investment follows a €200,000 tranche raised by NOA earlier in 2018.

Chief executive Gareth Hickey said that by the end of the year, the startup is aiming to raise €800,000 in total.

“We’re classing it as a seed round, but we’re doing it in three tranches,” he said.

NOA has not disclosed the names of the investors, but Hickey said a total of 15 backers have now put money into the startup with a number of those being repeat investors from the earlier tranche.

“The capital allows us to be more aggressive onboarding more publishers,” he said, with the startup planning to announce more US and UK publishers for its ranks between now and September.

“We supply (publishers) with a revenue share based on our subscription and advertisement revenues. Most of our revenues right now would be coming through subscriptions,” he said.

While NOA will not reveal the number of subscribers it has currently, Hickey told Fora that it’s aiming to reach 20,000 subscribers within the next year. The subscription is €7.99 a month.

“A big part of our cost base is on the narration side of things so the investment is allowing us to invest in narrating more articles, increasing the volume which adds more value to the users,” Hickey added.

“Our editors select the stories that run on a daily basis and they send them over to the narrators when they’re online.

“Between the two teams we manage to get the curation of the articles, the narration and then the post-narration side of things – editing and mastering and so forth.”

Smart speakers

Co-founder Shane Ennis told Fora that NOA is keen to explore more platforms for its product beyond mobile and desktop.

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Source: Piotr Cichosz/Unsplash

Smart speakers and connected car systems are areas of particular interest that the development team is pursuing.

“We’ve got an Alexa skill live for the past number of months, which is pretty exciting,” Ennis said.

“We’re working on a much more clever offering in the smart speaker space that will run across not just Alexa but Google Home.”

In the long run, the company wants to build capabilities for connected car dashboard systems like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The development team of four will likely double in the near future. The startup has an overall workforce of 15.

Hickey added that once the seed funding is fully closed at the end of the year, NOA will turn its attention to closing a much larger series A round by late 2019.

“That’s really what we’re trying to set ourselves up for at the moment.”

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