Digital content startup WaitWhat has landed an investment of $4.3 million. The company, founded by former TED executives June Cohen and Deron Triff, has quickly established itself as a player in podcasting. It won a 2018 Webby Award for the show Masters of Scale, hosted by entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman. Earlier in 2019, WaitWhat inked a deal with Harvard Business Publishing to adapt content from Masters of Scale into an audio-first version of Harvard’s business cases. These Podcases are now being licensed to universities.
Along with the funding news, WaitWhat also announced the launch of a new podcast in partnership with Quartz called Should This Exist?, an exploration of technology’s impact on humanity. Investor and digital leader Caterina Fake will host the new program.
“People don’t just transact with content; they want to feel connected to it through a sense of wonder, awe, curiosity, and mastery. These are contagious emotions, and research shows they stimulate sharing,” Co-founder and CEO Cohen said. “Where many media companies aim for volume — putting out lots of content with a short shelf life — we’re building a completely distinctive portfolio of premium properties that are continually increasing in value, inspiring deep audience engagement, and creating opportunities for format expansion.”
“In creating the TED Radio Hour and other media innovations during my time at TED, I fell in love with the idea of completely rethinking format. The initial body of content is the ‘first format,” and it acts as a precursor to what ultimately becomes an entire eco-system of media products, experiences and more innovative business models surrounding it,” said Triff, co-founder and chief business officer. “With this raise, we’re able to expand the team who will continually invent both new properties and format extensions.”