Brazilian audio startup Ubook prepares for IPO in Toronto

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Contxto – Brazilian audiobooks company, Ubook, is preparing an IPO in the Toronto Stock Exchange. They hope to raise between US$8 and US$15 million from the transaction.

What is Ubook?

Ubook is the ultimate audio streaming service in Latin America. Users can listen to different content formats on the platform, including audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, courses, as well as lectures.

CEO Flavio Rosso founded the company in 2014. To date, his venture has over 300,000 original titles in the catalog. On top of that, he has acquired more than 6 million users across several countries. 

Based on these numbers, the startup believes it can launch in over 18 countries by the end of March. Some of these include Mexico, Germany and Spain. The company is already operating at large scales, generating “over 8 digits in revenue” according to the CEO.

Brazilian Audio Startup Ubook Prepares For Ipo In Toronto

IPOing abroad

Canada may seem like a weird choice, right? Why would you choose the Toronto Exchange instead of the NYSE? 

Well, it actually makes sense. The company believes Canadian investors are already familiar with the Brazilian tech market, especially since many have already contributed millions to Brazil’s startup ecosystem. 

Not only that, but Canadians also know how the audio streaming industry operates. This adds value not only for capitalist investors but strategic resources, as well.

The CEO mentions that those resources will help the company “scale the production of original content and help the company consolidate itself as the largest audio-streaming platform in Latin America while expanding to some European countries.”

What’s the company’s status? 

Ubook’s impressive growth has resulted in them producing eight out of every ten audiobooks in Brazil. However, although it’s impressive in low-scale numbers, the executive still aspires for more. According to him, Brazil’s audiobook market still hasn’t matured like the United States’ that earns over US$3 billion a year.

Amazon could also potentially threaten the company. In my opinion, this is very probable considering that the mega-company recently established its Brazilian headquarters with immediate access to local consumers.

Nonetheless, the CEO also believes Amazon could potentially help Ubook educate consumers and maybe even promote more audiobook usage. 

“We spoke with Amazon about them coming here and help build the market,” said Osso. “It’s much better to have 50 percent of a market of 3 to 4 billion dollars than to have 100 percent of a market of 50 million.”

PagSeguro and Stone Pagamentos (two Brazilian unicorns) have also reached out to foreign markets to raise capital. International partners help startups stay up-to-date and take advantage of today’s globalized financial culture. 

While I understand the appeal of international investment, I would like to see more companies raising money in their home countries first. This will inevitably boost startup ecosystems. At the same time, though, certain investments are still far out of reach for many people in Latin America, especially when it comes to tech. 


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