Tag Archives: Sounder

Sounder Acquires Podnods

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.”

Sounder Raises $2.5M to Bring Monetization to Podcasters

Sounder, the industry’s first end-to-end podcast management and monetization platform built with and for creators, announced the completion of a $2.15M follow-on round for a total of approximately $4M of seed financing raised in the past 14 months.

The $2.15M raise was led by Ulu Ventures, and joined by new and existing investors including Newark Venture Partners and Xoogler.co, a community of Google alumni and current Google employee investors, and individual Spotify and Google executive angel investors.

“2020 was a very successful year for Sounder across product development, partnerships, and monetization,” said Kal Amin, Co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “This new round of funding will allow us to continue to solve problems creators face while innovating within the overall audio landscape. It will also allow us to bring our premium product, Sounder Plus, to market.”

The company will use the proceeds to continue its mission of powering an open and thriving audio ecosystem that supports independent creators, enterprise-level publishers and developers. With this funding, the company plans to further advance its proprietary search, speech-to-text and contextualization technologies as well as establish a new R&D center of excellence in New York.

“Sounder continues to demonstrate its value proposition for media channels and podcasters, enhancing discovery and monetization across the ecosystem,” said Miriam Rivera, Co-founder and Manager Director of Ulu Ventures.”Sounder’s technology will allow audio content to be searched and discovered in a streamlined and intuitive manner, which will help expand the total market as well as enable accelerated monetization growth.”

Sounders’s new monetization solutions have already yielded meaningful impact for creators, with certain pilot partners seeing an 80% – 130% increase in bid requests, and a $9 average CPM, which is more than 25% above industry average, in Q4 2020. 

“Sounder is developing the next frontier of a booming audio market by streamlining monetization and expanding discovery for podcasters. As the audio space continues to experience massive growth, Sounder’s platform will serve the needs of both content creators and audiences hungry for new material,” said Allison Williams, Principal at Newark Venture Partners. “We are proud of Sounder’s journey thus far, and we look forward to what the future holds for Cal, Dan and their team.”