Podcast Startup Wondery Raises $5 Million From Investors Including Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital

Wondery, the podcast network founded by former longtime Fox exec Hernan Lopez, has closed $5 million in a Series A round, led by venture-capital firms Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital.

The funding brings L.A.-based Wondery to nearly $8 million raised to date. The company was founded by Lopez in 2016 with funding from 20th Century Fox.

Other investors in the company include BAM Ventures, Water Tower Ventures, Fox Networks Group, BDMI and industry execs including Stanley Shuman, senior adviser to Allen & Co. and former director of News Corp, and MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan.

According to Lopez, Wondery will use the funding to expand its lineup of original podcasts, including “American Innovations,” “Dr. Death” and “I, Survivor,” as well as grow the audience of existing original and partner shows, including “Business Wars” and “Tides of History.”

The company also plans to hire more staff, building on its current headcount of 17 employees.

“As we enter a new golden age of audio, we couldn’t be more excited about investing in Wondery,” said Greycroft co-founder Alan Patricof. “Wondery’s creative approach, business model and management with experience in scaling businesses make it the ideal bet in the active listening space.”

Greycroft venture partner Jon Goldman is joining Wondery’s board, representing all investors. Goldman also is a general partner at GC Tracker, a seed-stage fund focused on video games, AR/VR and esports, and managing partner at Skybound, the rights-holder of entertainment franchises including “The Walking Dead.”

Also joining Wondery’s board alongside Lopez is Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Comparably and entrepreneur-in-residence with the City of Los Angeles.

“With the backing of some of the most experienced investors in media in the world, we’re looking forward to executing on a plan to become the premier destination for immersive storytelling,” said Lopez, Wondery’s CEO. He previously spent 18 years at Fox, most recently as president and CEO of Fox International Channels.

Since Wondery’s launch two years ago, the startup has notched six No. 1 podcasts include “Dirty John,” “Young Charlie,” “American History Tellers” and “Business Wars.” They’re available at Apple Podcasts and on the Wondery website.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content