Leading French podcast production company Paradiso Media has completed a Series A round of financing to pursue its international development, build its workforce and continue producing more film and TV adaptations.
Although Paradiso Media did not disclose the amount of the financing round, a source close to the company said a total of €5 million ($5.9 million) was raised.
Founded in 2019 by Lorenzo Benedetti, Louis Daboussy and Benoit Dunaigre, Paradiso Media has enlisted major new investors, including Swen Capital Partners, Alliance Entreprendre, and the Bpifrance’s French Tech Acceleration Fund.
Paradiso Media recently delivered “Love Under Lockdown,” an intimate and narrative-driven podcast which was nominated for a 2021 Webby Award in the category “Best Documentary Podcast: Limited Series.” Its latest productions include “A Gay in the Life” starring Garrett Clayton and writer Blake Knight, whose star-studded wedding ceremony was officiated by Alicia Silverstone. The series is available exclusively on Spotify Greenroom and launches today at 5pm PT.
Paradiso Media’s angel investors include successful executives within France’s audiovisual landscape, notably Rodolphe Belmer, the former CEO of Canal Plus Group who now heads Eutelsat; Pierre-Antoine Capton, Mediawan CEO; Grégory Dray, Google’s head of Kids, family entertainment and education in the EMEA; Julien Leroux, the CEO of Paper Entertainment who previously worked at Cineflix; and the production company Iconoclast.
Lorenzo Benedetti (pictured with Emi Norris), who previously founded Studio Bagel and headed digital production at Canal Plus Group, said Paradiso Media was entering a new stage in its development after two active years of steady growth.
“Thanks to the support of our angel investors, we are leading France’s competitive podcasting market and establishing a firm foothold in the United States as a result of our high-quality programming and growing audiences,” said Benedetti, who joined forces with Daboussy, the former CCO of Konbini, and Benoit Dunaigre, a former Havas exec, to launch Paradiso Media.
Benedetti said the group’s new financial backers will allow the banner to implement an “international and multi-format strategy” and have its “projects be heard, and eventually seen, by the world.”
Xavier Le Blan at SWEN Capital Partners said “Paradiso is perfectly positioned to conquer this market thanks to its knowledge of talent, its creativity, its intuition, and its established presence in the sector.”
Clemence Rousselet, from the ICC division of Bpifrance, pointed out “Paradiso is currently the only French podcast studio to exhibit true international ambition.”
“We quickly identified Paradiso Media as a real incubator of talent and stories adaptable to the audiovisual medium,” said Antoine Bodet at Alliance Entreprendre.
Benedetti noted the company’s DNA has always been about creating podcasts that could easily be adapted into film and TV content.
Paradiso Media’s development pipeline comprises films and TV adaptations based on its French-language limited series podcasts, notably the coming-of-age documentary “Mes 14 ans” with Brut, the thriller “Chosen” with Mediawan Group, and the family drama “In Flip Flops at the Base of the Himalaya” with Cinéfrance Studio. Paradiso Media also recently launched their #ShootThePodcast initiative, a co-development program for podcasts in partnership with key audiovisual and film production companies.
The studio has so far produced more than 20 podcasts in France and the U.S. in partnership with Spotify, Audible, Deezer, Sybel and Stitcher. Paradiso’s podcast library now totals more than 100 hours of audio programming in English, Spanish, German and France, and receives more than one million downloads a month.
The company has more than 35 employees across Paris and Los Angeles, including Emi Norris, managing director of Paradiso Media US, and Molly O’Keefe, who was recently upped to head of development. O’Keefe was previously senior director of artist programs at the Tribeca Film Institute and a development and production executive at Sundance Productions and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour. Other recent hires include Yael Even Or, who recently served as senior producer at Audible. Even Or will work alongside Norris and O’Keefe to produce Paradiso’s second English-language original podcast “Seventeen,” written and voiced by acclaimed journalist Laura Leigh Abby.
Paradiso Media’s robust development slate also includes several kids’ podcasts, a sports fashion podcast in partnership with MACRO Television Studios and a global non-scripted podcast development partnership with Ubisoft for three of their major video game franchises.