We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of Podfund. Jake Shapiro has written an excellent post outlining our inspiration and vision, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me, why I’m so ecstatic to join Podfund, and why I think we have the opportunity to meaningfully shape the podcast industry.
Storytelling has always been one of my greatest passions — I’ve done theater since high school (as an actor, writer, and producer), I majored in English literature, interned at independent film companies, and my first job out of college was working in the theater department at Creative Artists Agency.
I always assumed I’d be in the business of enabling the creativity of others, but my definition of creativity expanded when I fell in love with technology. I worked at a startup before joining an early-stage venture capital firm, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, where we helped founders realize their ambitions and armed them with the best possible resources in order to succeed. After graduating from business school, I joined the Prime Video Channels team at Amazon, which allowed me to simultaneously pursue my interests in media and technology. Earlier this year, I started a non-profit theater company to help playwrights self-produce their own work.
I see Podfund as a logical continuation of this recurring theme of my career and really, my raison d’etre: giving creators the support they need to share their stories with the world. Having spent most of my time in literature, TV, film, and theater, I’m thrilled to be immersed in a new medium that is so conducive to storytelling: audio is intimate, authentic, and engaging; it invites imagination. I’m also energized and inspired by the podcast community, which I’ve found to be full of empathetic, ambitious, resilient individuals navigating an ever-changing landscape.
And oh, is that landscape changing . In many ways, it still feels like the first chapter of the business of podcasting. There are many challenges facing podcasters today:
- Audience growth is hard. Marketing and audience development is still poorly understood, under-explored, and lacks tools for measuring results.
- Diversifying revenue streams. Even for podcasters successfully selling ads on their shows, further help is needed for longer-term, bigger ticket financial opportunities like licensing, membership/fan support, and merchandising.
- Money is scarce. Even after gaining initial traction, podcasters need additional support in the form of technology, connections, and cash to build upon early success to expand production, marketing, and the business overall.
Our goal with Podfund is to help creators mitigate and overcome these obstacles. While there’s a lot of collective knowledge that Podfund, RadioPublic, and our incredible network of mentors can provide, we believe one of the most powerful things we can do is connect talented podcasters with one another. Together, they can share their learnings, fill in each other’s blind spots, and contribute to one another’s success. We’ve made four investments so far, and with each new creator we add to the portfolio, the depth and breadth of wisdom, experience, and talent will increase.
Indeed, Podfund is itself an emerging company, so we understand what early-stage creators are going through. We’re charting new territory and will be learning as we grow, right alongside the Podfunded creators. We look forward to working with you, helping you share your stories with the world, and moving the industry forward together.