Podfund Seeks to Invest in Creators Poised for Growth

Podfund is a newly launched startup that is seeking podcasters. It is not a podcast network. Instead, it describes itself as “a resource for independent podcasters to help you build your business.” It can help match a podcast with podcast networks, platforms, talent agents, ad sales services, and other key parts of growing a successful podcast business.

According to Hot Pod, Podfund is headed by Jake Shapiro the CEO of RadioPublic, and the startup is positioning itself as “a strategic partner” of Shapiro’s podcast platform.

Some of the podcast creators that Podfund is supporting include:

  • Hebah Fisher – Kerning Cultures
  • Jake Brennan – Double Elvis
  • Erica Mandy – The NewsWorthy
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Pushkin Industries

As always, podcast creators should read the Terms of Service of anything that they are considering becoming a part of (or partner with). Podfund’s Terms of Service was updated on May 6, 2019.

Here are some key points to be aware of:

“Our check size ranges from $25,000 – $50,000 USD, depending on your stage, track record, evidence of traction, revenue, and intended use of the funds. In some cases, we may provide a larger initial check and/or follow-on funding.”

“We have developed creator-friendly terms on a revenue-based structure that ensure you own and control your intellectual property and your business, factor in the risk and return to Podfund, and are designed to support sustainable models for independent podcasters. You retain 100% ownership of your company and are free to distribute your content wherever you see fit.”

“We agree to provide funding and services to you in exchange for a percentage of total gross revenue (including ads/sponsorship, listener support, and ancillary revenue such as touring, merchandise, or licensing) per quarter. PodREV terms are 7-15% of revenue for 3-5 years, depending on current traction, revenue, and projected growth.”

Podfund’s Terms of Service also says:

“At any time you may also opt to pay down the revenue share obligation in full as follows:

1.5x the initial funding in year 1
2x the initial funding in year 2
3x the initial funding in year 3
4x the initial funding in year 4”

“A subset of set-up services are required as part of Podfund participation, and incur a fee ($2,500 – $5,000, which may be paid from the Podfund funding). These include company incorporation, establishing approved accounting/bookkeeping, access to metrics for reporting and data (solely for Podfund use.)”

“In the event your company is ultimately sold, Podfund receives a payment of 1% of the total purchase price. So if you eventually sell your company for $100M (congratulations!), PodFund gets $1M.”

Personally, some of what is in the Podfund Terms of Services makes me uncomfortable. It sounds to me like there is an initial fee that podcasters must pay if PodFund selects their podcast – which means the podcaster is starting out “in the red” with this situation.

The Podfund FAQ states that creators must be incorporated as a business in order to obtain support from Podfund. If you are not incorporated, Podfund can help you do that. I can understand a fee for helping a creator incorporate – but I don’t understand why they want a fee if a creator comes in with their own incorporated business.

But hey, if you happen to have a ton of disposable income, and a gigantic audience – maybe you might want to try Podfund. It sounds like they can help with bookkeeping and advertisement. Part of the criteria for being accepted by Podfund is that a creator must show they have made revenue from ad sales, crowdfunding/listener support, live events, or merchandise.

In short, PodFund wants the “big fish” and does not appear to be interested in helping smaller creators with funding for their podcasts.