Irish audio journalism firm Noa raises funds of €300,000

Dublin firm that narrates written articles on course to raise €800,000 by end of year

Columnists Fintan O’Toole, Una Mullally and David McWilliams perform “extremely well” among Irish and UK listeners

Columnists Fintan O’Toole, Una Mullally and David McWilliams perform “extremely well” among Irish and UK listeners

 

Irish media start-up Noa has secured a second tranche of seed funding as part of a three-stage process that will ultimately raise €800,000 for the business by the end of this year.

The Dublin-based company secured €300,000 in the latest funding round, adding to the €200,000 it raised in May. It will seek to raise another €300,000 in November.

Close to half of the funding in this round came from existing shareholders, using their pre-emption rights. The funding will be used to expand the team’s workforce, which will soon reach 15 full-time staff, plus seven narrators spread across the US, UK and Ireland.

Noa is backed by high earners and wealthy individuals and is expected to raise Series A funding in the second half of 2019 to attract investors in the UK and US.

Noa, which stands for News Over Audio, was founded in 2015. It presents text from leading news publishers in an audio format that is made available via an app.

The text is read by narrators, with a number of leading publications available on the service, including Bloomberg, the Financial Times, the London Independent and The Irish Times.

The service is aimed primarily at commuters, and people exercising or out walking. The number of publishers available on the service will rise from five to 12 by the end of the year, with UK titles the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard due to go live soon.

German version

It will also begin testing a German-language version of its service later this year.

“Given the scalability of our business, it is important that we gain a presence in London and New York within the next 12 months,” co-founder Gareth Hickey said. “Not only are these cities home to global media, but they also provide easy access to large English-speaking markets – the kind Noa seeks to capture.

“Noa is currently the largest producer and provider of audio-journalism in the world, and we seek to remain in this position as we grow on an international stage. London is our strongest market in terms of listeners, followed by Dublin.”

Noa narrates a wide selection of stories from The Irish Times each day. Mr Hickey said columnists Fintan O’Toole, Una Mullally and David McWilliams perform “extremely well” among Irish and UK listeners, as does Proinsias O’Mahony’s Stocktake and the Cantillon business column.

“For example, a piece by Fintan about the pope’s visit from Thursday had an average listen time of close to eight minutes, and on Friday remained our most listened to article on the app throughout the day. That’s very impressive, but it’s exactly in line with what we’re seeing across the board in terms of engagement and article completion rates.” Mr Hickey said.