Sierra Ventures: Our Early-Stage Investment in Podcastle

Sierra Ventures: Our Early-Stage Investment in Podcastle

Written by

Ben Yu

Published on

November 4, 2020

We’re excited to announce that Sierra Ventures led an investment in Podcastle’s $1.75M Seed Round.

Podcastle is developing podcast creation tools for amateur and professional podcasters and a streaming platform for listeners. The creation tools are centered around Podcastle’s text-to-speech technology that enables creators to convert scripts into high-quality podcasts. Creators may choose to have the script spoken in their voice or can choose from a library of AI-generated voices.

We believe podcasts will continue to be a primary medium for sharing content - with nearly one-third (104M) of Americans listening to podcasts at least once a month according to Edison Research. Podcastle is positioned to address the growing demand for high-quality podcasts by lowering the barrier to podcast creation and allowing creators to tell stories in the voices and language that’s right for their content and audience.

Podcastle is our second podcasting investment, following our early investment in Ximalaya FM, a China-based podcast streaming platform with 500 million users and a recent valuation in excess of $3.5B. We’re extremely excited about this space and its growth potential in the US market.

Additionally, we believe that high-quality talent is universal, while access to capital is not. To that end, we’ve looked for opportunities outside of the US and closely at the Armenian startup ecosystem. This led to an investment in a noise suppression startup called Krisp, which scaled from $0 to $4M in ARR within a year. Given that Podcastle is also Armenian-based, we believe they can similarly benefit from leveraging the talented engineering and product talent in the region to quickly build an extremely capital-efficient business.

Podcastle’s founder, Arto Yeritsyan, is perfectly suited for the challenge of building a world-class team. Arto rose quickly within PicsArt, an Armenian-based next-gen photo editing app with over 1 billion downloads, to become VP of Engineering, where he played a key role in directly hiring and managing the 300 person engineering team. Arto is parlaying his experience building photo editing tools at PicsArt to developing equally sophisticated editing tools for audio.

Joining us in the oversubscribed round are pre-seed investors SmartGate VC and new investors AI Fund and Correlation Ventures. We’re excited to be backing Podcastle and their mission of lowering the barrier of entry into the podcasting industry.