Seattle podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of PSL, acquired by hosting platform Libsyn – GeekWire

Seattle podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of PSL, acquired by hosting platform Libsyn – GeekWire

Seattle podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of PSL, acquired by hosting platform Libsyn – GeekWire

Amira Valliani, Glow CEO and co-founder. (Glow Photo)

Podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs, has been acquired by Libsyn, a podcast hosting network.

Glow launched in June 2019 with a way to help podcasters make money through membership programs. Publicly traded Libsyn will utilize Glow’s technology, including private feed distribution and subscription billing, for its more than 75,000 podcasts.

Glow raised $2.3 million from investors, including Greycroft. Terms of the acquisition were not released. Update: An SEC filing reveals that Libsyn agreed to pay $1.2 million as part of the deal, which includes $800,000 upfront and up to $400,000 over time.

CEO and co-founder Amira Valliani told GeekWire Monday that she started Glow because she “believed in a well-funded, thriving media” and she wanted to build new business models to create that ecosystem.

“Most people looked at me like I was crazy when I said that I was making it easy for podcasters to charge for content. No one thought that people would actually pay for podcasts on a large scale,” Valliani said. “I’m proud of this acquisition because it’s a demonstration that things have changed.

“Listener-supported podcasts are now mainstream, as is consumer-funded media,” she added. “I think that’s a great thing for podcasters, for content creators, and for society.”

Ben Gilbert, managing director of Pioneer Square Labs Ventures, co-hosts “Acquired,” his own popular podcast using Glow’s technology, and says PSL is excited about the acquisition.

“We think it’ll be a great thing for all of Glow’s customers to have the support of a larger company in the podcasting ecosystem,” Gilbert said. “Amira and her team built a fantastic product, and we feel fortunate to have worked with her on Glow as a spinout of the PSL Studio.”

Other PSL spinouts that were acquired include TraceMe, which was bought by Nike in 2019. The social media-style product was co-founded by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Glow has four full-time employees and seven total.

In an email to podcast fans, Valliani said that she expects the transition to be seamless and that subscriptions and the ability to receive podcast content shouldn’t change at all. Podcast memberships will be managed by Libsyn under the Glow branding.

The podcast industry has seen a flurry or consolidation in recent months as U.S. advertising revenue nears $1 billion, according to a July 2020 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. Axios also reported on the heating up of the podcast wars last fall and deals involving such heavyweights as Spotify, iHeartMedia, Apple, SiriusXM

Axios also noted new deals such as Vox Media agreeing to buy Cafe Studios, and Spotify acquiring the parent company of sports-centric social audio app Locker Room.


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