Podcast Startup Wondery Raises $5 Million (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Wondery
Hernan Lopez

The round was led by Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Shari Redstone's Advancit Capital.

Wondery, the podcasting startup behind Dirty John and Business Wars, has raised $5 million from a group of investors led by Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Shari Redstone's Advancit Capital. 

The company plans to grow its roster of podcasts and further build out its staff, CEO Hernan Lopez tells The Hollywood Reporter. Wondery's investors also include BAM Ventures, Watertower Ventures, Fox Networks Group and BDMI. 

"Active istening is the most exciting sector within the $60 billion global audio industry. 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," noted Lopez. 

In the two years since Lopez — a television veteran who led Fox International Channels as CEO for five years — started Wondery, the company has launched a number of podcasts, including Young Charlie about Charles Manson, American History Tellers and Business Wars. It collaborated with the Los Angeles Times to produce Dirty John, which topped iTunes' podcast chart and is now being adapted into a television anthology series starring Connie Britton. 

Los Angeles-based Wondery has focused on building a pipeline of projects that can be adapted into film and television projects. It has optioned four of its series, including Sword and Scale and Tides of History, which are both set at Propagate Content. 

Among the new original podcasts that Wondery will launch as part of its recent funding round are American Innovations, Dr. Death and I, Survivor.  

"As we enter a new golden age of audio, we couldn't be more excited about investing in Wondery," said Alan Patricof, who led Greycroft's investment. "Wondery's creative approach, business model and management with experience in scaling businesses make it the ideal bet in the active listening space." 

Added Lerer Hippeau managing partner Eric Hippeau, "We believe it's an ideal time to invest in podcasting and that Wondery will be a leader in the industry." 

Wondery's fundraising comes off a period of activity for podcasting startups looking for institutional investments. Brooklyn-based Gimlet Media raised $20 million last summer from WPP, Stripes Group, Emerson Collective and others. Panoply, meanwhile, raised $5 million last year.

All told, the podcasting industry was expected to bring in more than $200 million in revenue in 2017, per the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The space has grown significantly on the heels of a handful of breakout podcasts, with the number of podcast listeners doubling in the last four years. 

As part of Wondery's recent funding round, Greycroft venture partner Jon Goldman has been added to the board. He joins existing board members Jason Nazar and Lopez. 

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