A new chief executive has apparently given investors the confidence to pump another $30 million into the subscription podcast company Luminary. Bloomberg reports the private round of fund raising valued the company at less than the $200 million it was pegged at a year ago. The report says the money will come in handy since Luminary is reportedly burning through more than $4 million a month with less than $500,000 in monthly revenue.
The startup launched with $100 million and several high-profile names in April 2019 with a subscription strategy that made Luminary stand out in a medium where most podcasters use a free, ad-supported model. The company has closely guarded its subscriber numbers, but Bloomberg cites unnamed sources who peg its paid user base at about 80,000. Luminary cut its monthly subscriber rate to $5 at the start of the year, down from its previous rate of $8 per month. It has also begun expanding into markets beyond the U.S., recently launching in Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.
The source of the additional $30 million in capital isn’t known, but Luminary has previously raised about $130 million, mostly from the global venture capital fund NEA, where founder Matt Sacks previously was a principal as he focused on consumer internet investments.
Last October Sacks relinquished day-to-day management of the company when HBO veteran Simon Sutton was recruited as CEO. Sacks remains Luminary’s executive chairman. The company also recruited former HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler to its board in January. Plepler, who is also an investor in Luminary, has been working his Hollywood contacts to recruit new producers to Luminary’s lineup. At the same time, Bloomberg says Luminary has been cutting costs to conserve its cash. It is also hoping to strike deals with mobile carriers to help boost its distribution and visibility.
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