Capital

Philippine Podcast Startup Secures P36 Million in Seed Funding

The Filipino podcast startup aims to go international.
IMAGE Podcast Network Asia. Group photo taken in 2019.
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Podcast Network Asia (PNA), a Filipino podcasting startup, has raised $750,000 (P36 million) in its latest round of seed funding from investors Lisa Gokongwei, president and CEO of Summit Media and head of JG Summit’s digital transformation office; Foxmont Capital, a Filipino-focused venture capital fund; and Venturra Discovery, a Jakarta-based venture capital firm investing in Southeast Asian businesses.

Philippine live-streaming app Kumu has also invested in the podcast network, making PNA the first investment for the superapp.

According to PNA, the startup will use its new infusion to fund its Southeast Asian expansion and to strengthen its production and AI-powered data analytics platform.

PNA is the largest podcast show network in the country, having expanded to over 90 shows in less than two years. The startup began in August, 2019 after the success of CEO and co-founder Ron Baetiong’s podcast Hustleshare, which is now one of the leading business podcasts in the country. Baetiong's PNA was one of the startups that competed in CNN Philippines’ The Final Pitch and managed to secure a P3 million investment from the show’s judges Mark Vernon of Tagcash Ltd. and Michael Dargani of Baskin Robbins PH at 20 percent equity. PNA has since used the initial investment to expand its network, which includes top Pinoy podcasts Walwal Sesh, Typical Pinoy Crap, Boiling Waters, The Underpaid Podcast, and Boy Abunda’s show Who Are You When No One’s Watching?

"Podcasting is about to enter its golden age,” said CEO Baetiong. “We are very excited with what this investment allows us to do–with the Philippines as the sixth fastest growing country in terms of listenership plus our own listenership, which already stands at 10 million; we can scale up and continue the momentum we've built in the Philippine podcasting industry and replicate it across the region.”

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PNA plans to use the Philippines as its launching pad to expand to other countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Globally, the podcast industry boasts over one million shows and earned over $659 million in ad revenues around the world in 2020. That’s an 855 percent increase from its ad revenues of $69 million five years ago in 2015. Global podcast ad revenues are expected to surpass $1 billion in 2021.

"I think podcasting is still in the early stages of growth in the country and that PNA has put a stake in the ground ahead with a scalable business model,” said PNA investor Lisa Gokongwei. “The team knows the industry well and they are quite passionate."

"Foxmont is confident that podcasting is poised to become one of the main avenues for media consumption in the Philippines and regionally,” said Foxmont. “PNA has the right team, capabilities, and services to help navigate both podcasters and corporations through this powerful new media."

PNA has also recently released podmetrics.co, a data analytics, ad exchange, and marketplace platform, which aims to connect advertisers and podcast creators. There are over 415 podcasts on the monetization platform at the moment.

Esquire Philippines is published by Summit Media, a company owned and managed by the Gokongwei family, who also control JG Summit Holdings.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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