Podcast Startup Gimlet Media Raises $15 Million From Stripes Group, Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective

Gimlet Media - Alex Blumberg and
Courtesy of Gimlet Media

Gimlet Media, the podcasting media company behind popular shows including “StartUp,” “Reply All,” and “Homecoming,” has raised $15 million in Series B financing led by investment firm Stripes Group.

Emerson Collective, founded and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, also joined the funding round. It brings Brooklyn-based Gimlet to $22 million in funding raised to date. Graham Holdings, which led Gimlet’s Series A, participated in the most recent round along with existing investors Cross Culture Ventures and Betaworks.

“This investment is a gratifying validation that we are at the beginning of the second golden age of audio,” said Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, Gimlet Media’s co-founders.

Prior to forming Gimlet Media in 2014, Blumberg was a producer for This American Life and the co-founder of Planet Money. Lieber had produced radio shows including “On Point” and “Fair Game” and podcasts and also worked as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group.

Podcast ad revenue in the U.S. is set to jump 85% this year, to $220 million, according to a recent PwC study — which was funded by Gimlet Media and other companies with a financial interest in the podcasting biz. While podcasting may be growing, it remains far smaller in terms of revenue than other media segments.

Gimlet’s first podcast, “StartUp,” is being adapted by ABC into a single-camera sitcom starring Zach Braff, “Alex, Inc.,” slated to debut in 2018. And Amazon Studios gave a two-season order for “Homecoming,” written by “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail and starring Julia Roberts in her first TV series, based on Gimlet’s podcast of the same name  about staffers at a secret government agency where some are desperate to rejoin civilian life.

With the funding round, Patrick Keane, operating partner of Stripes Group and former CMO of CBS Interactive, has joined Gimlet’s board, joining Blumberg, Lieber, and Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Graham Holdings. Gimlet said it will add a fifth independent board member later this year.

Gimlet execs said they will use the new funds in four areas: to develop new programming; to create an in-house training and talent development program for audio producers; to expand the Gimlet Creative branded-content unit; and boost efforts to develop and license Gimlet’s podcasts for other media formats including feature films, TV, and books.

Pictured above: Gimlet Media co-founder and CEO Alex Blumberg (l.) with Zach Braff.

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