Audion, the French leader in the monetization of digital audio and podcasts, has raised a Series A funding round of six million euros from Founders Future, Elevation Capital Partners, Financière Arbevel and business angels. In a rapidly changing global advertising environment, digital audio is the only media that maintains strong growth in H1 2022. Audion is the sector leader in France thanks to an increase in its turnover of almost 100% in 2022. The start-up, which allows publishers to broadcast advertisements on their audio content and convert their articles into podcasts, aims to become the European market leader in digital audio monetization within three years and to open offices in three new countries. Audion is already present in the UK and France.
Audion announces the first fundraising in the BtoB digital audio sector in France, with its historical investor Founders Future (Yuka, Lydia, Omi…), Elevation Capital Partners (Morning, Certideal, Plug-in Digital…) completed through bond debt financing with Arbevel Dette Privée PME. The start-up, which provides text-to-speech and digital audio monetization technologies, aims to help publishers create and capitalize on their audio content. After having raised €1.1 million seed in 2019, this new funding round should allow Audion to recruit around fifty people in the next twelve to eighteen months and to open offices in three new European countries. The company, which already works with major media groups, will strengthen its offer and its presence with publishers, platforms (Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud, etc.), advertisers (Intel, BMW, McDonalds, Lidl, Ikea, etc.) and media agencies ( WPP, OMG, Dentsu, etc., to continue to innovate and support this digital audio revolution.
Founded in 2018, Audion works with more than a hundred companies – media, publishers, podcast producers, etc. – and has experienced nearly 100% growth in turnover in 2022. It is the only French company offering digital audio monetization technologies and is the leader in terms of revenue, number of customers and campaigns, and it also operates in dozens of countries. While the global advertising industry is massively impacted, audio is recording the most significant growth (+50% according to the e-pub Observatory). Audion continues to grow with nearly +100% in both 2021 and 2022. The only French company in the BtoB audio market, Audion wishes to use these funds to accelerate its growth and become the European leader. Based in Paris and London, it currently has 25 employees. Its latest technology, PrintAudio, which converts text articles into podcasts and delivers them, has already been implemented on nearly a billion web pages.
Consumers are increasingly listening to digital audio – replay radio, non-linear radio, native podcast, music streaming, web radio, text-to-speech, etc. 6.3% of Internet users listen to content online each month (IAB Digital Audio Panorama, 2022), pushing brands and publishers to adapt their offer and their communication channels. But the growth of digital audio relies heavily on advertising, as publishers and producers cannot create a broad audio offering without monetization capabilities. The only French player on the market, Audion benefits from this change in usage, which explains its constant growth despite a struggling advertising market.
Kamel El Hadef, co-founder of Audion, explains: “Today, you cannot raise funds if your model is not sustainable. Our position as a French pioneer in the monetization of all digital audio formats and our ability to become the European leader have won over the investors with whom we have decided to work. But it is also our great growth since our creation that has enabled us to sign the biggest funding round ever in French audio adtech. The market is now at a turning point: either the brands and the media adapt and launch audio offers, or they take the risk of arriving too late! Hence this new round of funding.
For Benjamin Cohen, co-founder and managing director of Elevation Capital, “we were won over by Audion’s position as a pioneer in its market and by its strong growth since its creation. In the current environment, we are looking for companies with healthy growth, a profitable business model and unique innovations. This is the case of Audion, the first French company to offer monetization technologies dedicated to digital audio. As more and more media are launching audio content, we can expect a sharp acceleration in the growth of Audion, the only French player capable of supporting them.
Marc Ménasé, founder and CEO of Founders Future, said: “We have supported Audion since its first funding round three years ago. Initially, we saw the uniqueness of the technology developed by the team and the alignment with a growing need from advertisers and publishers. Arthur and Kamel sensed that media would increasingly turn to audio content to meet their readers’ demand for quality, online, non-linear audio content – which required the ability to monetize that content. We are very happy to take part in this new funding round, which bears witness to the growth of the company, which is now the leader in France.
Founded in 2018 by Arthur Larrey and Kamel El Hadef, Audion is the first French digital audio monetization technology company. It supports publishers across the audio value chain by providing innovative technologies that allow them to create and host new content, then monetize it in an automated way. It provides brands with its proprietary technology and know-how to enable them to communicate effectively on all digital audio media.
Based in Paris and London, the company has 25 employees and works with more than 100 media partners and platforms and more than 500 brands and agencies, including all 6 major French media agencies (WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Havas, Dentsu , Aegis , Heroics).
About the future of the founders
An investment platform founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Marc Menasé, Founders Future invests in seed in tech, digital and impact, in France and Europe, and supports ambitious and responsible founders in the structuring of their startups. The company combines the agility and operational support of a business angel with the robustness of a fund. Founders Future has invested in Sharpist, Lydia, Metafore, Bitstack, Taster, Yuka, Bonsoirs, Omi, Waterdrop, Alma and Audion.
About Elevation Capital Partners
Elevation Capital Partners, a company of the Inter Invest group, is a private equity investor targeting French start-ups founded by visionary entrepreneurs, combining rapid growth with a solid financial profile and well positioned in innovative markets. Since its creation in 2015, Elevation Capital Partners has aimed to support private companies with the shared ambition of building leaders in their market.
About Abrevel Financial
Taken over by its current management in 2009, Arbevel, an independent and entrepreneurial management company, is a key player in the world of small and mid caps.
With an investment philosophy based on the financial, extra-financial and strategic analysis of companies, Arbevel defines itself above all as a “Research House”. In recent years, Arbevel has expanded its range of products and services by offering its clients equity, bond, diversified and total return funds as well as private equity, private debt and discretionary portfolio management. As of June 30, 2022, Arbevel had 2.6 billion euros in assets under management and 47 employees.