Weekly round-up: Shifting gears

Hey podheads, here’s issue #35


This is kinda exciting. Podfund, a seed fund that aims to help “early-stage creators with potential for growth, revenue, and profitability profitable businesses” launched last week. The new startup is led by Jake Shapiro, the CEO of RadioPublic. Nicola Korzenko has been roped in to serve as Podfund’s General Manager from Amazon Prime Video.

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.

Jake Shapiro, CEO, Podfund and RadioPublic

Here’s how the fund works:

  1. Podfund will cut checks in the range of $25,000–$50,000 in exchange for 7-15% of the revenues over 3-5 years. But the fund may also cut bigger checks in certain cases.
  2. Creators will retain complete ownership and rights of their shows and control over how they distribute their shows.
  3. Podfund, apart from the funding will also enable connections with other podfunded peers. Creators will also have access to its mentor group consisting of experts across legal, editorial, marketing, and sales. Mentors include Max Linsky, Kerri Hoffman, and Jacob Weisberg among other heavy hitters. Creators will also get free access to RadioPublic’s complete suite of tools.

The fund has raised a $2.3 seed-round from Bloomberg Beta, Zelkova Ventures, TechNexus, Pascal Levy-Garboua, and Weave Capital. Podfund has already invested in Pushkin Industries, founded by Jacob Weisberg and Malcolm Gladwell and Erica Mandy’s show theNewsWorthy.

Check out these write-ups for more:

Introducing Podfund – Jake Shapiro
Day one at Podfund – Nicola Korzenko
A new company will give podcasters up to $50,000 to help them grow – Ashley Carman/The Verge

First-class citizen

Podcasts will now be visible in all search results across desktop, Android, and iOS devices. Google had announced it at I/O ‘19.

Here’s the search result for the Passion People Podcast by Naga.

PS: Thanks for helping me edit these round-ups 🙏


The Infinite Dial 2019 Australia report was published a couple of weeks ago and podcasting is growing down under. 22% of Australians listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 18% in 2018. 83% of Australians are familiar with the term podcasting vs 70% in the US.

The Infinite Dial 2019 Canada report was published last week and growth in podcasting mirrors that of the US. 36% of Canadians listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 28% in 2018. That’s tremendous growth!

Spotify watch

Bloomberg ran a story that Spotify is redesigning the app to make podcasts more prominent. Well, given the amount of money it’s spending to reduce its reliance on music revenues, this is warranted. Post the acquisitions of Gimlet and Anchor, Daniel EK, CEO of Spotify had written:

Based on radio industry data, we believe it is a safe assumption that, over time, more than 20% of all Spotify listening will be non-music content. 

KC Ifeanyi penned an interesting piece on why Anchor will be crucial to Spotify’s podcasting ambitions.

Luminary watch

Luminary will no longer be removing links in show notes. Joe Purzycki, the Chief Strategy Officer in a blogpost wrote:

We now fully understand the ramifications of those decisions and we apologize for our short-sightedness. Looking back, we should have expanded notes and enabled links on iOS and Android from the start.

Seth Resler of Jacobs Media on the lessons to be learned from Luminary’s troubles.

Luminary now looks like more like the New Coke of podcasting than the Netflix of podcasting.

Bill Rosenblatt, founder of GiantSteps Media writes that Luminary’s fumbles may herald some changes in podcasting. Here’s an interesting excerpt:

But now the threat of copyright liability is leading to talk about deals between podcast producers and app podcasts—cross-promotion and even royalties. In other words, the kinds of commercial arrangements that are commonplace for music, video and book content are coming to podcasting. 

Mike Raab, VC @ Sinai Ventures draws on historical context to explain why subscriptions are the future of podcastsing:

To be clear — there will always be free, ad-supported podcasts in the world, just as there is terrestrial radio and broadcast television. Although some are upset at the potential disruption (and disaggregation) that Luminary will likely ignite in the podcast community, both creators and listeners are likely to be beneficiaries


It’s the end of the road for Podcon. – Hank Green

Former US president and notorious naughty boy Bill Clinton launched a new podcast titled Why Am I Telling You This. The show will feature conversations between Bill, his daughter Chelsea Clinton, Clinton Foundation staff, partners and special guests.

Bob Pittman, the CEO of iHeartmedia launch his first podcast titled “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing.

Stitcher announced 2 new shows:

The Gist helmed by Mike Pesca celebrates its fifth anniversary. Here’s what Mike learned from hosting the longest-running daily news podcast.

Comedy Bang Bang podcast published its 600th episode as it celebrated its 10-year anniversary on May 1st.
How Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman keeps the hilariously weird comedy podcast going- Allegra Frank/Vox

Gimlet Media CEO Alex Blumberg in conversation with with Chuck Hinman of The Public’s Radio.

Why physicians should engage the podcast generation. Sarah Berg/AMA


Digital media graveyard

It’s just a constant barrage of bad news for digital media outlets. Disney last week wrote off its remaining $353 million investment in Vice Media, once the darling of investors. Disney had invested over $400 million and had written off $157 million in November last year. This Vox piece by Peter Kafka has more on this and the larger troubles of digital media companies.

Vice has had a tumultuous couple of years, to say the least. From a toxic workplace culture to sexual harassment allegations to missed revenue targets, the firm has been firefighting mode for a long time. I’d recommend reading this piece in New York Magazine by Reeves Wiedeman is a really good read.

Bootstrap chronicles

Morning Brew is a pretty cool newsletter that covers the top stories from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Today, the newsletter has over a million subscribers with over $3 million in revenues. But this didn’t happen overnight. Check out this conversation of
Alex Lieberman, CEO of Morningbrew with Noah Kagan on the journey so far.

I’m a huge believer in the power of newsletters and there’s plenty of learning in this episode.

Co-founder and COO, Austin Rief was on The Digiday Podcast. I haven’t heard this yet but this will be insightful without a doubt 🙂

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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