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Meet Callin, the First Social Podcasting Platform

My latest venture with Axel Ericsson unifies social audio and podcasting — and it’s available now in Apple’s App Store.

Today is the public launch of Callin, the first app to offer a new experience we call “Social Podcasting.” We’re also announcing our $12 million Series A co-led by Sequoia Capital and Goldcrest Capital, along with my firm Craft Ventures, which incubated the company.

I’ve never been more excited to launch a new product — here’s why.

Callin lets you create, discover, and consume live and recorded audio content in one place. It combines the best aspects of social audio — live conversations and social discoverability — with the best aspects of podcasting — creating a lasting library of shows that users can listen to anytime.

From All-In to Callin

The starting point for Callin was my own experience with the All-In Podcast. Cohosting the pod over the last 18 months, I discovered how much work goes into producing a show. What the audience never sees is the 6 hours of post-production on every episode. To be honest, if my Bestie Jason (a true podcasting pro who’s been at it for 10 years) hadn’t made it so easy for me, I never would have figured it out.

Podcasting shouldn’t be that difficult, so I teamed up with co-founder and CTO Axel Ericsson to radically simplify the experience, so anyone can create a show.

The New Stack for Podcasting

Our goal was to bring the barriers to podcasting down to zero by turning your iPhone into a studio. There were three major pieces to this:

  1. Recording — We wanted to make recording a podcast as easy as pushing a button. A new wave of social audio apps has shown the way on this, but unlike those apps, all the content in Callin is automatically recorded and stored as an episode of a show. Callin rooms also remain under the control of the show’s host, who can bring “callers” up one by one to ask their questions. It’s like recording a podcast in front of a live studio audience.
  2. Post-Production — One of the most magical features of Callin is that recordings are turned into a transcript which you can edit. Callin recompiles the audio based on the edited transcript so the creator never needs to touch an audio file. The post-production features of Callin will only get better over time. Eventually, there will be nothing you can’t do on Callin that you can do in a professional studio.
  3. Publish, Share & Discover — Once you’ve recorded and edited your episode, it’s time to publish it as part of your show. Content on Callin is easily discoverable through a social graph (e.g. subscriptions and following). Moreover, you can one-tap share your content to other social platforms or export the audio files to other podcasting platforms. You or your fans can curate shows by creating Highlights, which are also easily shared.

While similar features have existed piecemeal on other apps, this is the first time that they have all been brought together in a seamless end-to-end experience, with the purpose of making it extremely simple to create a new audio show. In so doing, our goal is not to win a slice of the existing podcasting market but rather to expand the size of that market exponentially by enabling a long tail of shows.

My Favorite Shows

For the last two months, we have been testing Callin in private beta. Starting with a small number of users that has grown into the thousands, we’ve been amazed at the wide variety of compelling shows (over 100 of them) that have already been created. Here are a handful of my favorites:

  • Little Piles of Crazy — Comic Kirk Fox has adapted his standup comedy into an audio show. He and his wife Jaren have also created Beauty & the Beast, which is like the family sitcom of Callin shows.
  • Waiting for Goffman — Screenwriter Mark Goffman (Umbrella Academy) takes us inside the writer’s room by interviewing major Hollywood showrunners. There’s just one problem: Mark is always late, so everyone is always waiting for Goffman.
  • Winklevoss Radio — “Bitcoin Billionaires” Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss discuss startups, crypto, and DeFi.
  • Business Class — After 5 years hosting Girlboss Radio, Sophia Amoruso returns to podcasting with her exclusive show on Callin.
  • No Rules Berlin — Two angel investors from Germany, Chris Strobl and Olcay Buyan, compare notes about the European tech scene.
  • Butterfly Effects — VCs Kara Nortman (UpfrontVC) and Lydia Jett (SoftBank) discuss how following a passion, interest, or hobby can lead to a large unexpected impact.
  • Secrets of Compelling Writing — Best-selling author Neil Strauss and super-marketer Craig Clemens share simple effective tips on how to write in a way that demands attention in an era of media saturation.
  • Rise of the Young — Interviewer Casey Adams focuses on “bringing legendary interviews to the youth.”
  • Rogue Bogues — Former Golden State Warrior Andrew Bogut discusses his Basketball Series and takes questions. ​
  • NewmanZone End Zone — Sports encyclopedia Mike Newman talks football and gambling on football.
  • Sportz (with a Z) — Sport fan Zach Naidu focuses on local sports teams.
  • Truckers & Nerds — CloudTrucks, a cloud-based trucking company, shows the potential for corporate content with their show for truck drivers.

Finally, you can find me on Callin with a few different shows:

  • Sacks on SaaS — a business show where I discuss tips and tricks for SaaS startups.
  • Red Pills — a politics show where I interview writers and thinkers like Glenn Greenwald and Antonio Garcia Martinez.
  • All-In Afterparty — a companion show to the All-In Pod where you can meet our Whack Pack and get a little more Bestie.

The Next Joe Rogan

These shows are just the beginning. Somewhere out there is the next Joe Rogan. They know they have the talent to create a great audio show but they are daunted by the barriers to entry. Callin flattens those barriers and gives anyone a chance to be discovered.

One of the problems with the current state of the podcasting universe is that new pods get lost in an ocean of content. Even if you can produce it technically, it’s hard for anyone to find it.

Social Podcasting provides a solution. Any long tail podcaster can find their initial audience through the social graph. Their friends can engage with the content, spreading it to their friends, until it hits the algorithm, which boosts it to a wider audience.

I’m confident that the next Joe Rogan will get started on Callin.

Thank You!

I’ve been collaborating with a very talented founding team to develop Callin, including Axel, Ryan, Charlie, and Andrew. I would go so far as to say that Callin is the best product at launch that I’ve been involved in creating. This is a testament to the hard work and quality of the team.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on the app and watching the Callin community grow!

Get Callin on the Apple App Store

@getcallin on Twitter




The easy-to-use, all-in-one platform for podcasters

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David Sacks

David Sacks

General Partner and Co-Founder of Craft Ventures. Previously: Founder/CEO of Yammer. Original COO of PayPal.

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