A game-changing resource for startup capital, resources, and expertise for podcasters
At a moment when charting your own course as an independent creator is fundamental to long-term success and healthy growth of the podcasting medium overall, we are launching Podfund, the industry’s first dedicated source of funding for podcasters.
Podfund is born from insights we’ve gained at RadioPublic as we’ve worked with thousands of podcasters who face a common set of aspirations and obstacles. Beyond our pioneering tools for creators and listeners, we realized there was a gap in the ecosystem for helping emerging podcasters who have ambitions to build creative, profitable, and impactful businesses.
To give Podfund running room and leadership for transformative impact of its own, we are excited to announce two foundational developments: we’ve closed a $2.3M seed round, which includes investment from Bloomberg Beta, Zelkova Ventures, TechNexus, Pascal Levy-Garboua and Weave Capital; and we have brought on Nicola Korzenko as Podfund’s General Manager. Based in New York City, Nicola is joining Podfund from Amazon Prime Video and making her debut in the podcast industry, bringing a mix of skills and experiences (including stints at Creative Artists Agency, Signpost, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, HBS, and Amazon) that are ideal for establishing and leading Podfund. Podfund is founded in partnership with and operated by RadioPublic, but it is also an independent company at the start of its own contribution to the field.
“Podcasting has exciting growth ahead, fueled by compelling content and audience interest. Podfund is uniquely positioned to support the emerging community of creators, and founders Jake and Nicola have the vision, talent, and network to lead the way.” – Karin Klein, founding partner at Bloomberg Beta
Over the past several years the podcast industry has accelerated in audience growth, revenue, and new podcast talent. A new class of creator-led media company is emerging, with podcasts as the foundation for building a brand, a fanbase, and revenue across a growing number of sources (including advertising, crowdfunding/membership, licensing, live events, and other ancillary extensions of intellectual property). At the top end of this growth we’ve seen studios like Gimlet and Stuff Media acquired by major media companies, with a rising tier of independent creators forging their own paths to sustained success.
Many of these creators also face a common set of challenges:
- A steep learning curve for podcasting best practices. The podcast industry is undergoing rapid development, and few are able to stay on top of new strategies and go-to resources.
- A lack of tools and tactics for audience growth. From top podcasts to the long tail, marketing and audience development is still poorly understood and lags behind other digital media practices – an area where RadioPublic is ahead of the curve.
- Access to startup and growth capital. Ambitious creators starting to get traction need capital aligned with their goals, whether to expand production, invest in marketing, add business operations capacity, or address other gating factors to their growth.
There has been a significant uptick in investment by major platforms, new startups, and legacy media who are all recognizing podcasting’s immense-yet-nascent value. Despite this influx, prior to Podfund there has been no dedicated source of funding for creators building independent podcast businesses. Apart from grant funding and training programs, current funding models require joining a network or a platform, or turning to venture capital’s aggressive expectations for the kind of pace and scale that are not a good fit for most creators.
Podfund represents an alternative, providing creators the flexibility and independence to assemble best-in-breed solutions and valuable partners, across many definitions of success.
In coming months we will find, fund, and support dozens—and eventually hundreds—of podcasters by establishing Podfund as the go-to ally for creators. We’ve recruited friends from the industry to join us in this mission as mentors, and they are as excited as we are to contribute to this next chapter in podcasting. We will be adding to our roster of partners going forward so if you have a resource you’d like to offer to Podfunded creators, get in touch.
A special shout out to the pioneering creators joining us at launch: Hebah Fisher (Kerning Cultures), Erica Mandy (theNewsworthy), Jake Brennan (Disgraceland/Double Elvis Productions), and Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg (Pushkin Industries).
“I see Podfund as a huge opportunity to collaborate with some of the best in the business, continue to grow theNewsWorthy, and support other podcasters.” – Erica Mandy, host and creator of theNewsworthy
“Podfund has been instrumental in helping chart the future for Double Elvis Productions and the greater Disgraceland universe. The podcast industry is fueled by relationships and insights and no one has more than Jake and the Podfund / RadioPublic team.” – Jake Brennan, host of Disgraceland and founder of Double Elvis Productions
Podfund owes its inspiration to many exceptional efforts around us. Matter Ventures, the accelerator for media startups, paved the way for fostering a mission-driven approach to entrepreneurship. PRX is a champion for independent voices. Indie.vc is changing the model for tech investing. And Zebras Unite is leading a movement to create a more ethical and inclusive startup culture. Every day we draw inspiration from podcasters in our midst and in our ears, and can’t wait to help more of them do even more of what they do best.