Gumball, the podcast advertising company created by the same team behind comedy podcast network Headgum, is emerging from a two-year stealth mode with news that it has just raised $10 million in funding that will see it grow. expand its programmatic market for host-read ads.
The Series A funding round was led by Union Square Ventures and Good Friends. Bringing Gumball’s Total Funding to $12M—Union Square Secured Initial Funding of $2M in 2019 – Latest Round Also Includes Investments from Craft Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners, Animal Capital, Calm Ventures, Gaingels and Riverside Ventures.
“Gumball is the only company to apply scalable technology to the native format of podcasting – ads read by the host – and has shown exceptional growth during development,” said Hanel Baveja of Union Square Ventures. “While music-focused platforms such as Spotify and SiriusXM run radio-style programmatic ads and podcast networks often push flagship shows forward, it offers advertisers a compelling alternative and is in a path of its own. management team as creative in business as they are in content creation, we are excited to support Gumball as the podcast market strengthens.”
Gumball CEO Marty Michael said their programmatic platform is “boosting” the host-reading format with a technology solution that delivers the kind of scale and efficiency that programmatic advertising does. With a single click, Gumball’s Marketplace allows marketers to connect with multiple podcasters to instantly identify and buy inventory and plan, manage and track executions at scale and in minutes.
“Today’s funding will allow us to further invest in technology and attract independent talent interested in leveraging this impactful marketing discipline,” Michael said in the announcement.
Launched in 2019, Gumball claims that during its development over the past two years, it has worked with over 500 brands and served over 15,000 host-read ads. They have included advertisers such as Casper, CBS, Netflix, OkCupid, Squarespace, Warby Parker, Brooklinen, AMC, LinkedIn and StockX.
“Host-read advertising is podcasting’s most valuable and powerful asset, delivering authentic, intimate, and approval-level messages natively in targeted content,” Michael said. “While equally loved by brands, listeners and talent, the way campaigns are bought, planned, executed and tracked is antiquated, closed and largely unchanged from the dawn of podcasting. Gumball boosts the media with a solution that provides the kind of scale and efficiency of programmatic advertising.”
Gumball will benefit from being part of Headgum, a growing media company and pioneer in podcasting. Headgum includes wholly owned original shows such as If I Were You and Dead Eyes, as well as an ever-growing network of comedy and entertainment shows. Gumball’s current inventory includes hundreds of podcasts, including Headgum Original shows, podcasts within the Headgum network, and hundreds of independent podcasters and content creators.
The team behind the Headgum Podcast Network created Gumball. Headgum co-founders include comedy duo Amir Blumenfeld and Jake Hurwitz (If I Were You podcast and formerly of CollegeHumor), CTO Andrew Pile (formerly CTO of Vimeo), COO Amir Cohen (formerly of CollegeHumor) and Marty Michael (formerly of Meebo and CollegeHumor), which acts as CEO.
Early investors include Simplecast founder Brad Smith, EJ (operator CNET), Kunal Shah and Zander Lurie (Survey Monkey, AKA Momentive), and Kerry Trainor (Soundcloud, Vimeo).