Podimo, a Copenhagen-based startup building what it hopes will become Europe’s “Netflix for podcasts,” has raised €6 million in seed funding prior to launch. The round is co-led by Germany’s E.ventures and Denmark’s Heartcore, reflecting the young company’s two planned country launches later this year.
Founded by Morten Strunge, who has a track record in subscription media products via audio books service Mofibo (which he sold to Storytel), Podimo is hoping to capitalise on the rise in consumption in podcasts. Ambitiously, this will include both a free and paid version of its product, with the aim of creating a reliable revenue stream for podcast producers. The startup’s other founders are Nikolaj Koppel, Andreas Sachse and Sverre Dueholm.
“Podcasts have finally come of age and we are seeing a lot of demand for audio content globally across many different demographics,” Strunge tells me. “Consumers are increasingly looking for premium, ad-free services and we see a huge potential in the podcasting space.”
The Podimo app has been designed to provide a “superior experience” in discovery and recommendation compared to existing podcast streaming and download services. The idea, says Strunge, is to make it as seamless and easy as possible to find your next podcast.
“We believe that with the fast increasing amount of podcasts available, curation and discovery becomes more and more important to both unfold content in a relevant context and to the right individual user, which will benefit both podcast creators and consumers,” he says.
By launching a freemium model, where a paid version provides unlimited listening and features, Strunge believes there is an opportunity to work closely with podcast creators to strengthen the podcast ecosystem and make it less reliant on advertising revenue. “We want to become the preferred partner for creators, by both working closely with their content, curate and match it with each individual user, but also by offering a superior monetisation model,” he explains.
The hope then is that a more robust revenue stream will enable new podcasters to enter the market and allow existing ones to earn more. In turn that could give podcasters the financial headroom to invest even more time and effort into “creating great content.”
“Our dream is that with around 20% of people in Europe listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, many creators should be able to make a living out of creating podcasts, it shouldn’t just be for the few,” says Strunge, perhaps ignoring the fact that media often scales to become a hits-driven business. “We will offer revenue share to all existing podcasters out there, but also co-produce and produce original content,” he adds.
More broadly, Strunge says he remains a strong believer in audio as a format. He says not only is it easier to listen than it is to read but that podcasts are built for subscriptions. “It’s a short format, actuality driven, series driven and niche and broad at the same time,” says the Podimo CEO.
In addition, production costs are low so it’s possible to keep to a price point below music and VOD services, and Strunge is convinced we will continue to see a significant increase in the number of podcasts produced. This will include the broader market, but also podcasts from more professional media players yet to invest strategically in the audio format.