Sweden-based podcasting platform Acast has raised $33 million in a series C round of funding from Swedish national pension fund AP1, in addition to Swedbank Robur funds Ny Teknik and Fokus Fund.
Founded out of Stockholm in 2014, Acast pitches itself as “the world’s largest podcast marketplace,” constituting a podcast platform that joins the various dots between creators, listeners, and advertisers. It does so through consumer mobile apps; analytics; cloud storage; and programmatic advertising smarts for marketers.
Monetization plays a central part of Acast’s offer to podcasters — just last week it announced a new personalized advertisements product that can tailor ads to the individual based on myriad factors, such as location, weather, time of day, and the device that the listener is using.
Prior to now Acast had raised around $35 million in funding, including its $19 million series B round last September, and with another $33 million in the bank, it said that it plans to double down on its global expansion efforts, particularly in the U.S., which the company said is already its fastest-growing market with a quarter of all listens emanating from there.
Last year was a big year for podcasting, and 2018 has continued on that trajectory — a recent Edison Research report into podcast listening trends found that 26 percent of people in the U.S. listen to at least one podcast each month, an increase of two percentage points on the previous year.
Such numbers will only serve to increase investment in the podcasting realm too. Earlier this year, podcasting startup Castbox raised $13.5 million, while popular podcast aggregator Pocket Casts was acquired by a consortium of public radio stations including NPR. Elsewhere, iHeartMedia snapped up podcast company Stuff Media, including its HowStuffWorks podcasting unit.
As for Acast, well, it is touting some new numbers that bolster the notion that podcasting is in rude health.
“This has been the biggest year in our short history as a company — in 2018 alone, Acast has grown by 86 percent, breaking all our records,” noted Acast CEO Ross Adams, in reference to the company’s user growth this year. “Working with respected investors like AP1 and Robur on realizing our new mission is a huge vote of confidence.”
Additionally, Acast also said that its hosted shows grew 93 percent to 3,300 this year, with listens growing 62 percent to 125 million individual sessions each month across the platform. Back in October, Acast also struck a deal with Spotify to help distribute Acast-hosted podcasts through the music-streaming service.