Podcorn connects advertisers with podcasters and manages sponsored messages in podcasts

Podcorn, the service that connects brands with podcasters to acquire in-broadcast sponsored time (not pre- or post-roll advertising), is officially launching its services today.

“For brands, the benefit is that we are scaling the discovery of relevant podcasters of all sizes and making it possible to work with hundreds of really targeted podcasters within their niche at scale,” writes Podcorn co-founder Agnes Kozera. “Historically, if you look at programmatic pre-roll ads in video, programmatic wasn’t enough to sustain the creator ecosystem in terms of revenue and a lot of audiences skip those ads. And importantly, only a small portion of top creators end up making a sustainable income from programmatic because it is strictly based on impressions so smaller creators with niche but very engaged audiences don’t generate a sufficient amount of revenue.”

The company, which raised $2.2 million in a round of financing led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Alumni Ventures Group, Correlation Ventures and the investment firm Next 10 Ventures, was founded by Kozera and her high school friend, David Kierzkowski.

The two previously launched the influencer marketing company Famebit, which was acquired by Google three years after its launch — and after raising $1.5 million from 500 Startups and the Los Angeles-based incubator and early-stage investment firm, Science.

“[Podcasts] need alternative monetization such as native sponsorships (why influencer marketing blew up) because creators started making a lot more money from it than traditional ad formats because it takes into consideration other criteria that make their podcast valuable,” Kozera writes. “It also gives brands an opportunity to see the value of creators irrespective of size.”

Like the influencer marketing business which gave Kozera and Kierzowski their first exit, Podcorn connects brands with a range of different podcasting formats and manages the types of contracts these new media broadcasters can offer to increasingly targeted audiences that follow them.

It’s a strategy that’s been a boon for influencer marketing, and now that increasing numbers of ad dollars are going to podcasts, it was only a matter of time before the practice made its way into the new format.

Companies like Acast, Midroll, Audiogo and ThoughtLeaders are also all vying for a piece of the podcast advertising market.

“We are giving brands the opportunity to be part of the conversation, where listeners can hear from the brands – so not just pre, mid, and post-roll host read ads but brand interviews, panel discussions with experts and professionals who are within the brand’s industry,” Kozera wrote in an email.