Castbox raises $13.5 Million as podcast boom continues
This morning, Venture Beat writer Paul Sawyers wrote an article about the podcasting startup “Castbox” which aims to compete for attention in the podcast discovery category. 6 months ago, the startup announced it had raised $16 Million since it’s initial launch in 2016.
The app aims to fill voids in the market for podcast discovery that iTunes and other large platforms can’t fulfill. They have developed a natural language processor that allows users to search for specific words or phrases within a podcast. This is a next step forward for podcast discovery. To this point, the only way a podcast could be discovered is in the copy (Title, description and episodes) and because these platforms don’t have ears, they can only understand what you tell it to understand.
Castbox now has a user base of over 15 million listeners and hosts over 50 million podcast episodes. These large dollar figures and download numbers should only increase as podcasting continues to surge in our society.
Edison recently released early 2018 podcasting metrics which show that nearly 26% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast per month and users are listening to 7+ podcasts per week. The other staggering statistic is that 80% of listeners consume all or most of an episode, which means better engagement for consumers and advertisers. Advertisers are constantly seeking consumer attention to help brands reach the end consumer, and podcasting is becoming the new go-to medium for them to do so.
Unlike television ads, where consumers disengage and turn to their cell phones when a commercial airs, podcast listeners actually hear podcasting ads because they are natively woven into the content. Listeners are not even aware they are listening to the ad until they are half way through the live read. Podcasting is also an “opt in” medium where users decide which hosts they listen to. For that reason, they tend to trust the host and value their opinion more than a paid ad in a social feed or that television commercial you have seen 17 times.
For these reasons, startups like Castbox will continue to emerge because listeners and users are so valuable in this space! As for podcasting and the future of Castbox?
“Podcasting is still in its early stages, but it’s growing at an incredible pace,” said Wang, who also serves as Castbox’s CEO. “We have innovative features that our users love, but it’s not enough to keep up with the growing market demand. This new injection of capital will allow us to continue iterating on our product across all platforms — from mobile to auto to smart homes — while delighting our listeners with fresh new content from Castbox Originals.”
Similar to the numbers we have seen in social media start up land, don’t be surprised if a $13.5 Million dollar round seems like a very small number by 2020.