Spotify buys Paris Hilton-backed podcast discovery tech startup Podz
Less than three months after acquiring live audio app Locker Room maker Betty Labs to take on Clubhouse, Spotify has snapped up another tech startup in the podcast space. Yesterday, the Stockholm, Sweden-based Spotify announced it has acquired Podz, a tech startup that developed an auto-generated “audio newsfeed” for podcasts. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In an announcement on its website, Spotify says it acquired Podz as part of its efforts to “build and scale the world’s best (and most personalized) podcast discovery experience.” Spotify said it plans to integrate Podz’ technology into the Spotify experience, and listeners should start seeing elements of that work before the end of the year. In a separate announcement on its website, Podz said, “We’re excited to help power podcast discovery for the world’s number one audio platform.”
Backed by Katie Couric, Paris Hilton, and M13, New York-based Podz was founded in 2019 by a small, talented team of entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers, including Doug Imbruce (CEO), Seye Ojumu (CTO), Head of Design Rasmus Zwickson, and iOS lead Greg Pag. Using proprietary technology trained on 100,000+ hours of content, Podz identifies and transforms the best 60-second clips of podcast episodes into a personalized feed of animated highlights
Before its acquisition, Podz has a total of 10 full-time employees. The startup has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by venture-capital firm M13 along with Canaan Partners, Charge Ventures, and Humbition, as well as investments from Katie Couric, Paris Hilton, and journalist Mara Schiavocampo.
In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Spotify said: “We believe that Podz’s technology will complement and accelerate Spotify’s focused efforts to drive discovery, deliver listeners the right content at the right time, and accelerate growth of the category worldwide.”
Powered by state-of-the-art machine learning technology, Podz generates high-quality clips that give users the opportunity to preview key moments from podcast episodes, encouraging them to discover and listen to new podcasts.
The capabilities of the Podz platform, “combined with Spotify’s 2.6 million podcasts on the platform, learnings from our work in music discovery, and current investments in podcast recommendation, will take podcast discovery to the next level — making it easier for listeners to find the content they want to listen to, and for creators to be discovered and build a fanbase,” Spotify added.
Spotify started in October 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden as a commercial music streaming service that provides restricted digital content from a range of record labels and artists. The company also provides a freemium service; basic features are free with advertisements or limitations.