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Two-year-old audio platform Podimo raises $78m from London VCs

A large library of proprietary content and local focus attracts venture capital

By Mimi Billing

Danish audio startup Podimo has announced today that it had raised a $78m Series B round, one of the largest rounds for an audio tech company in Europe this year.

Podimo is looking to fill the gap between podcast platforms like Acast and audiobook companies like Storytel with a mix of RSS-feed content, curated podcasts and audiobooks and its own productions. Today’s raise was led by London-based VCs 83North and Highland Europe.

Launched in 2019, Podimo is currently available in Denmark, Germany, Spain and Norway. The company is known for its emphasis on local language content; they translate bestsellers from Denmark and Norway to German, for example.

“Where we’re differentiating ourselves is that if you look at non-English speaking markets, the vast majority of consumption of short-form audio and also audiobooks happens in the native language, actually more than 90%. So it’s extremely important to be there in the local markets and to build a catalogue of local content,” says Morten Strunge, founder of Podimo.

When I open the app, I find a mixture of BBC Radio 4 productions, Danish true crime podcasts and books by Arne Dahl, as well as the Avicci biography. Unfortunately for me, except for BBC’s Fake Heiress, all the content is in Danish. I would rather listen in my native Swedish, but unfortunately that’s not a language available yet (I’m counting on you, Podimo!)

Monetising audio

Companies in this sector have traditionally had difficulties in monetising audio content. Sweden’s Acast introduced advertising as a way to pay the podcast’s creators for their content. However, the company has lost almost 30% of its value since going public this summer as investors looked unfavourably on increased growth expenses while advertising revenue has barely risen.

Audiobook companies like Storytel instead charge a subscription fee; that is also Podimo’s model. But unlike most others with a similar model, Podimo shares the revenue with creators that you listen to directly.

“The model we have means we share revenue with all creators, no matter if you’re under open RSS or not. So if a user listens to a piece of content that’s available across all platforms then they also get a share of the revenue that we generate,” says Strunge. He says this will help creators invest more in creating future content.

That Podimo produces a lot of content (950+ shows so far) is key to its success. With its own productions there is less revenue sharing. If done well it can also be a powerful user retention tool, as Netflix has demonstrated.

“What we’re also building as a sizeable catalogue of our own IP, which is interesting from an investor perspective; we’re actually able to create hit shows that take a substantial part of the consumption, where we then actually sit on the IP,” Strunge says.

Apart from having two new London-based investors, Podimo sees other promises in the UK.

“The BBC have been outsourcing a major part of their productions, and that’s simply to build a very healthy creative community, in and around London. We can tap into talent and from there we then develop shows that we can then utilise across our different markets.”

With the new injection of capital, Podimo is set to create even more content, scaling up the product and tech team and expanding in Europe.

Until Podimo has decided to enter Sweden or the UK, I am stuck with picking between Danish and Norwegian local content. And although it’s not worth €5 per month for me, I do like the idea.

Mimi Billing is Sifted’s Nordic correspondent. She also covers healthtech, and tweets from @MimiBilling

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