Sounder announced the acquisition of Podnods, a leading podcasting discovery and analytics technology. Podnods’ AI-driven technology will be incorporated into the Sounder platform, bringing state-of-the-art technology to creators and listeners worldwide. As part of this acquisition, Podnods Co-founder and CEO Mercan Topkara will become Sounder’s new CTO, leading the company’s new research and development hub in New York City.
“Sounder and Podnods started with the same mission: to help creators be heard. Audio has been deprived of true technological innovation for quite some time and by bringing our two companies together, we aim to deliver the next generation of audio technology, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, to fuel growth for creators everywhere,” said Kal Amin, Co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “We are thrilled to have Mercan join as our CTO, help us accelerate our operating plan, and lead our next phase of engineering innovation.”
Podnods has leveraged its propriety natural language processing (NLP) technology to process and index over 1.7 million of the world’s 2 million podcasts (and their episodes), generating an audio data graph of more than 3 billion data signals. By incorporating Podnods’ cross-podcast analytics with Sounder’s in-episode keyword-based analytical capabilities, Sounder will be able to create new taxonomies and personalize discovery and recommendations at an unprecedented scale.
In her new role at CTO, Ms. Topkara will lead Sounder’s global engineering department, and spearhead the growth of the company’s newly established research and development center in New York. Prior to cofounding Podnods, Ms. Topkara was VP of Data Products at Luminary media, as well as a Research Engineer at JW Player and a Research Scientist at IBM. She received her Ph.D in Computer Science from Perdue University. Sounder Co-founder and current CTO Goran Krgovic will assume the role of Chief Architect, reporting to Ms. Topkara.
“I’ve been a fan of Sounder from the beginning. Podnods solved discovery for podcast listeners, and Sounder did it for podcast creators — you need both to change the industry,” Ms. Topkara said. “Our complementary approaches to processing and indexing audio content will position us to improve both discovery and engagement dramatically.”