Podfund, the investment group that has backed 19 different podcast companies including Pushkin Industries, QCode, and Double Elvis, among others, is under new management. The venture capital firm TechNexus Venture Collaborative has become the new manager of Podfund. It had already been among its financial backers. The move comes two months after Podfund co-founder Jake Shapiro joined Apple Podcasts and co-founder Nicola Korzenko joined Amazon.
Launched in May 2019 with backers including Bloomberg Beta, Zelkova Ventures, Pascal Levy-Garboua and Weave Capital, in addition to TechNexus, Podfund invests seed money in shows and podcast companies that it believes have big breakout opportunities. The not-for-profit invests $25,000 and $50,000 to help bring a podcast to reality. Podcasters would also retain 100% ownership of the show and Podfund will put no restrictions on where the podcast is distributed. In return for the funding, a podcaster accepting the seed money must agree to a revenue share agreement that will see Podfund receive 7-15% of revenue for the first three to five years depending on the show’s traction, ad revenues, and projected growth. And in the event the company that is producing the show is ultimately sold, Podfund would receive 1% of the total purchase price.
Andy Annacone, Managing Partner at TechNexus, said in a blog post that his firm’s plan for Podfund is to build on original model and also include “some new elements” that it believes will support “the next phase” that it sees coming in the evolution of audio and media.
“We will continue to support creators and the new businesses and business models that surround their vision. But we will also play a stronger role working at the intersection of content and technology to support the reinvention of content forms and advance technologies supporting content discovery, distribution and commercial success,” said Annacone. “And we aim to leverage TechNexus’ model for collaborative innovation at the industry level to help accelerate and shape the growth of the industry ecosystem. It’s a new chapter for Podfund that stays true to the original theme and, we hope, adds some powerful new through-lines.”
As investors in Podfund, Annacone said TechNexus saw the “vision and novel model” to support creators building the podcast business. Even as the specifics were different, he said they recognized the vision based on its work during the past 12years with entrepreneurs, investors, and strategists in other industries. “We’ve worked across a wide variety of markets, but over the years we’ve found our presence in audio and media to be particularly strong,” he said.
TechNexus has backed some of the largest names in audio, investing in everything from ambient audio, to broadcasting platforms, to voice control. Over time, Annacone said the firm’s outlook on audio has expanded as it sees how audio fits into the changes that are happening in media and entertainment more broadly. “We recognize how technology and innovation are enabling fundamental changes in content itself — new forms, new ways to tell stories, and new ways for people to experience the world,” he said.
The management change had been expected after both of Podfund’s co-founders took on new jobs in the media industry in September. Shapiro, co-founder of both RadioPublic and Podfund, joined Apple as Head of Creator Partnerships at Apple Podcasts. And Korzenko returned to Amazon where she is now working in the content acquisition department for Amazon Prime Video.