‘News Over Radio’ start-up secures €500k for funding

By Maurice Garvey

A START-up which began at a house in Old Bawn has secured €500,000 in seed funding this year, amid plans for further market expansion at home and abroad

News Over Radio (NOA), dubbed the “Spotify of journalism”, was created by Gareth Hickey and his co-founders Shane Ennis and Philomena McGinley, to address global disengagement between publishers/advertisers and the public.

Gareth hickey

Creators of the News Over Audio app, Gareth Hickey and Shane Ennis

NOA’s subscription-based service provides daily audio versions of opinion and feature articles – read by professional narrators – from a range of international publishers.

Their app was launched in 2017 with the Financial Times and Bloomberg among its first clients.

NOA recently secured €300,000 in seed funding to attract more publishers and expand its international presence – this latest investment follows a €200,000 tranche raised by NOA earlier this year.

Co-founder Gareth from Tallaght, a former Echo paperboy, revealed that by the end of the year, the start-up is aiming to raise €800,000 in total.

He said a total of 15 backers have now put money into the start-up with a number of those being repeat investors from the earlier tranche.

Speaking to The Echo shortly after the launch of the app, Hickey said the response from publishers has been very strong.

A big push

“There will definitely be a big push in the next five to 10 years to step away from the more linear programming to more audio on-demand.

“The format is similar to that of television, with sites such as Netflix and YouTube offering people content that they want, when they want it, and easily accessible.”

A former analyst with US securities and derivatives firm SIG, Gareth studied finance and economics in Maynooth, but says it was his role as a paperboy that gave him his first appreciation of journalism.

“The Echo was my first exposure to news. My mother took care of the Aylesbury distribution for 16 years, and I always remember reading through the paper before I went out.”

He says developing a new way for younger people to engage in journalism was a focal point for the establishment of NOA in 2015 at his family home in Old Bawn.

Hickey said seed funding raised will provide NOA with the opportunity to expand, and they are planning to announce more US and UK publishers between now and September.

The start-up is exploring more platforms for its product beyond mobile and desktop, including smart speakers and dashboard systems.

Now employing 15 people and located in DIT’s Hothouse Centre, NOA hope to reach 20,000 subscribers within the next year.

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