Podcasting technology startup Glow, a spinout of Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs, has raised $2.3 million from a slate of investors with experience in digital media, aiming to further develop its platform to help independent podcasters monetize and build media businesses around their shows.
The seed round was led by Greycroft, the New York-based firm known for past investments in podcast content network Wondery and analytics platform Chartable. Other investors include Norwest Venture Partners, PSL Ventures, WndrCo and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, in addition to rapper and songwriter Nas, and Electronic Arts CTO Ken Moss.
Glow is aiming to give podcasters new revenue streams to supplement or replace advertising, sponsorships and network distribution. The company says that more than 100 podcasts have started using its first product, a membership platform that lets podcast listeners access extra content and special perks for a subscription fee.
The beta launched in June, as reported by GeekWire at the time. Notable shows using Glow include Techmeme Ride Home, Acquired, The Newsworthy and Twenty Thousand Hertz. Advisors to the company include Mikel Ellcessor, the co-creator of Radiolab.
The company’s mobile-oriented platform promotes the podcaster’s subscription program, processes payments and gives podcasts the ability to distribute special content to subscribers in their preferred podcast player.
It’s the first in a series of products that Glow is planning to support its larger vision. The overarching idea is to make it as easy to build a build a content business as it is to use an off-the-shelf service like Shopify to build an e-commerce business, said Amira Valliani, Glow CEO and co-founder.
“We want to get to the point where someone who has an idea for a piece of content can do the same things that they might if they have an idea for a shoe or a sock,” Valliani said.
The podcasting industry generated $479 million in advertising revenue in 2018 and is expected to top $1 billion by 2021, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC.