Art19 gets $7.5 million in funding to build out its podcasting platform

Even in many podcasting circles, Art19 isn’t exactly a household name. The startup has largely operated behind the scenes, without much in the way of active promotion. Even so, the companies that have enlisted its hosting and ad technologies are among some of media’s largest. The New York Times, Vox and iHeartMedia all take advantage of its services, which are akin to something like Podbean, but positioned more directly at larger media organizations. 

Art19 says it anticipates a 300-percent revenue growth for 2017, which will be spurred on, in part, by a newly raised Series A. The company announced today that it has raised $7.5 million in a round led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and DCM Ventures.

The news comes as more investors are looking toward podcasting as a potential revenue stream. Earlier this year, IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) noted a projected 85-increase in ad revenue between 2016 and 2017, up to $220 million. Numbers are way up, too, with 56 million Americans having listened to podcasting in the past month, according to another study. Earlier this month, Gimlet took advantage of bullish outlook by raising $15 million. 

But someone needs to figure out how to really make the media profitable. Art19 appears well positioned to provide a support structure for some of the bigger media companies. The startup has been around in one form or another since 2011, officially launching in August of last year. The company offers some unique approaches toward monetizing podcasts — the biggest hurdle to making them a more appealing proposition for investors.

It’s offering more detailed look at podcasting metrics and listening habits, with more complex insights into how users are actually listening. The startup’s WarpFeed technology, meanwhile, helps target ads to users based on information like IP and device data. The startup was also early in pushing dynamic updates, so listeners don’t always get the same Blue Apron or Casper Mattress read, regardless of when in the future they listen to a show.

Art19 CEO Sean Carr says the company isn’t having any issues with outreach, so the new funding will go toward building out the team and polishing up its product. From the sound of it, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. 

“A lot of people are very nice about the product, but all I see is what’s wrong,” Carr told TechCrunch. “In my mind, there’s a lot of work to do to mature our current set of tools and expand the set of tools and what it can do within the digital audio space. It’s going to be about hiring people and expanding international. Monetization is very nascent in the US, and it’s almost nonexistent internationally.”