The startup Glow, the podcast platform that allows show producers to offer “memberships” to fans who in exchange gain access to ad-free content, has just done some fundraising of its own. The Seattle-based company has raised a combined $2.3 million in its first fundraising round among investors. It was by the venture capital firm Greycroft with WndrCo, the technology investment firm co-founded by film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, also taking part. So did Norwest Venture Partners, PSL Ventures, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. Plus, angel investors in the round included the rapper Nas and Electronic Arts CTO Ken Moss.
Glow has been beta-testing its concept with the podcast Acquired since earlier this year. The show has offered listeners the option to become a $5-per month “limited partner” in exchange for additional content related to the world of tech startups. The company says 3.5% of Acquired’s listeners opted to pay for premium content, which so far has included two bonus episodes. Those 15,000 paying members will give Acquired $25,000 a year on top of what the show makes in advertising revenue. Based on Acquired’s success, Glow says more than 100 podcasts have begun to use its platform including Techmeme Ride Home, Twenty Thousand Hertz, and The Newsworthy.
Unlike Luminary which is building a subscription podcast business, Glow sees itself as building a service more like Shopify to help podcasters develop e-commerce revenue. Glow makes its money by taking a reported 12-20% cut of the revenue generated by subscription sales. That’s more than the 5-12% rival Patreon charges its users.
“We want to get to the point where someone who has an idea for a piece of content can do the same things that they might if they have an idea for a shoe or a sock,” CEO Amira Valliani told GeekWire.
It’s the latest investment in podcasting for Greycroft which previously put money into Wondery and Chartable. “We’ve been looking for a company tackling the subscription business model in podcasting in the right way that’s native to the medium,” Greycroft founder Alan Patricof told Variety. “Creators have relied solely for advertising for too long, and we love the sustainable way that Glow enables podcasters to thrive in this incredibly fast-growing media category.”