Podfund has Invested in Atypical Artists

Podfund announced that they have made a strategic investment into Atypical Artists. Atypical will use the capital to fund original new shows from both in-house talent and their robust network of up-and coming writers, directors, actors, composers, sound designers and engineers.

The investment in Atypical Artists signals a deeper move into the world of audio fiction for Podfund, and our continued commitment to enabling independent creators.
We’ve long been admirers of Atypical, impressed from afar by their creative integrity and ambition. We started talking with Lauren and the team last fall and once we got to know each other, were even more eager to find a way to work together. Not only do they create rich, powerful stories, but they are incredible role models and advocates for the independent podcast community. We couldn’t be happier to be officially in their corner.

The Hollywood Reporter stated that the deal comes as the year-and-a-half-old Atypical preps several upcoming projects including romantic comedy Life with Lea(h) and musical Strange Woods. Podfund and Atypical aren’t disclosing the terms of the deal.

Atypical Artists is built on the belief that to make the most compelling stories, you need to empower a diverse and passionate set of creators; in other words, make neat stuff with neat people.

Founded by Lauren Shippen, Jordan Cope and Briggon Snow in 2019, Atypical Artists is an all-in-house production studio cultivating fresh narratives across a wide-breadth of entertainment mediums, from a core background of fiction podcast storytelling. The team’s expertise in making audio drama podcasts from soup to nuts has Atypical Artists uniquely poised to help push the medium even further and bring audio storytelling to a whole new group of listeners.

Podfund Will Release Original Podcast in Spring and Summer of 2020

Podfund announced some upcoming releases from storytellers from the Podfund portfolio. Here are a few to look forward to:

Against The Rules – Season 2 premieres May 5

Against The Rules is best-selling author and journalist Michael Lewis’s searing look at fairness in every aspect of American life – financial markets, newsrooms, sports arenas, courts of law and more. In Season 2, he examines the role of coaches in society. It seems like there’s a coach for everything and, in most cases, they are revered. But who has access to these coaches and who doesn’t? And what does that mean for all of us?

The Last Archive – Premieres May 14

Who killed the truth? In The Last Archive, acclaimed historian Jill Lepore is hot on the trail of the “murderer,” dodging fake news and alternative facts as she examines ten events across the 20th century – from a brutal death in Vermont, to the invention of the lie detector, to the first use of data in a presidential election. Each story is a clue in her case. Listeners accompany her on literal and figurative journeys as she reanimates the past with rich archival audio, lively field investigations, and radio drama-style reenactments. The Last Archive unfurls like a classic 1930s radio drama but takes on the big issues of today.

Revisionist History – Season 5 Premieres June 18

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past – an event, a person an idea, even a song – and asks whether we got it right the first time. It has been singled out as a top history podcast by Time, Oprah, and Good Housekeeping, to name a few, and is a mainstay of top podcast charts. Gladwell is a best-selling author, New Yorker writer, and podcast pioneer. Revisionist History’s fifth season will explore how we memorialize war, why museums are hoarders, and whether lotteries would yield better results than elections.

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.