Wondery, the largest independent podcast publisher in the world, announced today the completion of a $10 million Series B financing round led by new investor Waverley Capital. Series A investors Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, BDMI, Advancit and Water Tower Ventures, as well as Powerhouse Ventures, also joined the round.
Wondery, creator of hits such as Dr. Death, The Shrink Next Door and Business Wars, is both the largest independent and fastest growing company on Podtrac’s ranking of top podcast publishers, responsible for the #1 and #2 top new shows in 2018. With seventeen #1 Apple Podcasts chart topping shows since its 2016 launch, Wondery has gained critical acclaim and commercial success for its immersive approach to sonic storytelling. The world-renowned series Dirty John was adapted into a highly-rated TV series for Bravo and Netflix, and five other series have been optioned for TV by Universal Content Productions, FX and WarnerMedia.
According to Edison Research, 51% of Americans 12+ have listened to a podcast in 2019, and 90 million listen every month–the fastest growth since Edison started tracking podcast listening ten years ago. The IAB and PwC recently predicted that US podcast ad revenue will reach $1bn by 2021, more than doubling over a three-year period. This latest investment not only speaks to the strong marketplace position podcasts hold in the world of entertainment and media, it also demonstrates the significant attention and value this medium holds among prominent investors.
“Waverley Capital invests in category-defining media companies, and there is no better example in the audio space than Wondery,” said Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Daniel Leff, PhD, Co-founders and General Partners, Waverley Capital, in a joint statement.
Wondery will invest the proceeds in IP development, content acquisition, technology investment, and global growth around its lineup of original podcasts such as Business Wars.
In addition to expanding the lineup of originals, Wondery has brought on Declan Moore to head its global efforts. Moore brings a 25-year career in television and digital media to Wondery’s executive team. In his new role, Moore will be responsible for leading all aspects of Wondery’s business outside of the U.S. market and bringing Wondery’s immersive podcasts to listeners around the globe.
Prior to founding Wondery, Hernan Lopez was CEO of Fox International Channels, a unit of 21st Century Fox (now Disney) that operated over 300 television channels including Fox, National Geographic, Fox Sports and FX outside of the US. During his tenure, revenue rose from eight figures to $3bn annually, as the group expanded its portfolio in over 30 languages all over the world.
“Consumers all over the world are flocking to podcasts, yet they can’t find enough of the high-quality, immersive series the Wondery brand is known for. We’re beyond excited to partner with Waverley and our existing investors in our next phase, and thrilled to welcome my former colleague Declan Moore to our executive team,” said Lopez, Founder & CEO of Wondery.
Moore explained: “I am thrilled to join the team at Wondery, having long been an admirer of Hernan’s executive accomplishments and an avid consumer of the shows Wondery produces. Hernan has assembled a world class team and I look forward to growing our international business and firmly establishing Wondery as the global leader in immersive storytelling.”
Most recently, Moore served as first Chief Executive Officer of National Geographic Partners (NGP), the multi-billion dollar joint venture between National Geographic Society and Twenty First Century Fox.
Prior to the formation of NGP, Moore was a 20-year veteran at National Geographic, having held leadership roles as the Chief Media Officer and Executive Vice President at National Geographic Society where he was responsible for all media, consumer products and licensing. During his tenure, National Geographic transformed millions of passive readers into active buyers of National Geographic products, while NatGeo became the largest media brand on Instagram, and the National Geographic Channels’ distribution rose to 450 million subscribers globally.
About Waverley Capital
Waverley Capital is a venture capital firm focused solely on the innovation and disruption occurring globally throughout the ~$2T media industry. Waverley is the successor fund to Luminari Capital, a top performing media-focused venture capital fund founded in 2014. Waverley Capital’s mission is to provide superior financial returns to their limited partners by partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs in the media ecosystem to help them build scale and category-defining media companies.
Wondery is the largest independent podcast publisher, with hit programs such as The Shrink Next Door, Business Wars, Over My Dead Body and Dr. Death. Wondery’s mission is to bring a world of entertainment and knowledge to its audiences, wherever they listen. Wondery provides listeners with high-quality, emotionally immersive podcasts that allow them to feel the story. Discover more at https://wondery.com.