Hottie with a poddy: VCs give Gimlet the greenlight

Traditional wisdom says that podcasts and investors go together like oil and water. Difficulty tracking ad performance has made ROI notoriously hard to calculate — and most VCs aren’t too keen on throwing money at a black box.

Yet, Brooklyn-based podcast startup Gimlet Media just closed a $15m series B (at a $55m valuation) led by Stripes Group to scale the success of their popular series Reply All and StartUp.

So what’s changed?

The podcast market is prime for the picking

24% of Americans say they listen to podcasts monthly (up 2x from 4 years ago), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau projects an 85% increase in ad revenue from 2016 to 2017, hitting $220m this year.

A pittance, sure, when compared to search and video ad revenue, but as co-founder Matt Lieber sees it, podcasts are a golden opportunity to seize the few hours of our days not fully consumed by screens (think commuting or at the gym.)

And these investors “get it”

Stripes is a major investor in millennial-focused companies Refinery29 and Blue Apron (a mainstay on the podcast advertiser circuit), and unlike other VC’s seems more inclined to take risks on budding media.

Similarly, media-minded tech investor Emerson Collective was also one of the investors on Gimlet’s round, after acquiring a majority stake in The Atlantic just last week.

Plus a little market validation from a tech media darling doesn’t hurt

Spotify is making a push into podcasting, launching 3 original series in February, with more coming after that.

They’re also promoting Gimlet’s pods on their platform to wrest market share from Apple (Gimlet is plugging them in exchange).

Lucky for all you Ira Glass fans out there, that competition means one thing: more great pod-tent coming down the pipe.

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