Himalaya Media May Have Misrepresented its Venture Funding

Himalaya Media is a platform for podcasters to create podcasts, connect, and share content with their fans. It appears that the company may have misrepresented the amount of money it received in venture capital funding.

In February of this year, Himalaya Media set out a press release that is still viewable on PodNews, but may have been taken down from other sources. Part of that press release said:

The San Francisco based startup has raised $100M from General Atlantic, SIG and Ximalaya FM and will use this to support the tech innovation, marketing, and content production and acquisition that are driving this launch.

Axios recently reported that Himalaya Media “…didn’t really have that much money in hand, nor were all the stated investors actually on board.”

Axios stated that General Atlantic never invested in Himalaya Media (according to a General Atlantic spokesperson). Instead, General Atlantic had previously invested an undisclosed amount in Ximalaya FM, which is an established Chinese podcasting platform. In its original press release, Himalaya Media listed Ximalaya FM among the companies it received VC funding from.

Interestingly, as Axios noted, Peter Vincer, Himalaya’s original head of partnerships and marketing said that Ximalaya FM is Himalaya Media’s majority owner. This was not mentioned in the press release that Himalaya sent out in February.

Axios was able to speak with Himalaya CEO Yu Wang who said the he removed the press release because “some of the language… was a little bit confusing”. Yu Wang also told Axios that the $100 million was a three-year commitment which mostly came from Ximalaya FM, and that Himalaya Media had only received around $10 million.

This is a mess! I’m not actually surprised by the obfuscation that it appears Himalaya Media has engaged in, though. Himalaya asks podcasters to “claim your show”, which is never a good sign.

It means that Himalaya Media has gone ahead and put a bunch of podcasts onto its platform without asking for permission from the creators of those podcasts. Put all of this together, and it makes me very hesitant to trust Himalaya Media.