Podhero launches to provide non-advertising podcast revenue

A startup called Podhero is making waves today with its official launch, helmed by Pete Curley and Garret Heaton, founders of HipChat (sold to Atlassian, and from there sold to Slack).

Podhero is a subscription service and podcast listening app that provides money to podcasts which are favorited in the app. Does this ring a familiar bell? If it sounds like the streaming music subscription model, we agree. Just as Spotify Premium, Pandora Premium, iHeartRadio All Access, Napster, Deezer, and other divvy up big pools of subscription income and redistribute it to music owners, so does Podhero aspire to assist podcast creators in that basic way. (The divvying-up equations are probably different from music, as the two media categories are structured very differently.)

Podhero has raised $4-million in seed venture funding.

How It Works

The premise, according to the founders, is that 97% of podcast creators don’t make any money, and advertising is a chimerical revenue dream reserved for big shows. That’s not a new thought, of course — it’s why so many podcasters turn to Patreon and other crowdfunding platforms to subsidize their shows. Curley and Heaton have struck upon a good idea here, bringong Patreon-like funding into a podcast listening app, rather than making podcast listeners go to a separate crowdfunding site to support their passion shows.

At scale, the Podhero model could weork well for podcasters, and increase their crowdfunding reach. The scale must multiply, though, since any single show will probably derive less money from a single listeners in Podhero than a single listener in Patreon. That said, there is no harm in pusuing both monetization paths — big reach for pennies in Podhero; low reach for dollars in Patreon.

Anyway, here’s what Pete Curley says: “We are incredibly excited to introduce Podhero to the world today,” said Curley. “As listeners, we were frustrated by how hard it was to support the podcasts we love. With Podhero, our goal is to make supporting podcasts as easy as paying for a Netflix or Spotify subscription.”

Here are some words from their investor: “I’ve known and worked closely with Pete and Garret since 2006,” said Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures. “They are two of the sharpest product designers I’ve been lucky enough to work with and, with Podhero, they have turned their talents to the burgeoning yet fundamentally flawed podcasting experience. Podhero will change how creators and listeners alike experience podcast media, and their product will unlock enormous creativity for all.”

Brad Hill