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NYC Startup Anchor Just Raised $10M To Truly Bring Podcasts to the Digital Era

57M Americans listen to podcasts per month, up 23% year-over-year according to Edison Research. Yet, the podcasting experience hasn’t changed much since its early days. It’s been a typical, unidirectional broadcast similar to radio that doesn’t embrace technology – think square peg in round hole. Anchor is changing that. Launched in 2015, the NYC startup is building the platform that brings podcasting into the social era both for creators and listeners. Its easy-to-use platform allows podcasters to instantaneously develop audio content with the use of just of a phone. Creators are also able to interact with their audience during and after the podcast, allowing for dynamic content to be created that’s more engaging. Listeners also benefit with a personalized and interactive experience beyond what’s been out there.

Today, we sit down with Anchor CEO and Cofounder Mike Mignano to chat about the inspiration for the startup, its future plans, and its latest round of funding.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

Today we are announcing a $10 million Series A funding round led by GV. Our additional investors include Accel, betaworks (Anchor’s first-ever investor, now investing out of their new betaworks ventures fund), The Chernin Group, Eniac Ventures, Homebrew, Atlantic Records’ CEO Craig Kallman, and acclaimed author and podcaster Nir Eyal.

Tell us about your product or service.

Anchor is the easiest way to create, share and interact with audio. We’ve built a way for creators to record high-quality audio right from their phone, then share and interact with their audience. Listeners can discover and receive content personalized for them, listen to their favorite creators, and interact with both station hosts and other listeners.

What inspired you to start the company?

I spent nearly half a decade at Atlantic records – following my passion for music. After that, I (along with my cofounder Nir Zicherman) ran product at Aviary, where we learned what it takes to build features that matter, ultimately helping to drive that company’s acquisition by Adobe.

At the same time we were spending our free time obsessing over podcasts, and talking music, but found there wasn’t an easy way to create and share audio. It’s expensive and often low-quality, longform (with many podcasts being an hour plus) and one-sided (there was no way to interact with the host or other listeners).

As we thought about what we wanted to do next, we realized that audio was the last medium yet to be democratized so we set out to solve this problem.

How is it different?

Anchor is the easiest way for anyone to hear, share, and create great audio right from their phone. For example, Anchor is the only place where you can:

  • Make your audio visual
  • Publish your podcast with just one-touch (to Apple Podcasts + Google Play)
  • Interact around audio (with the host or other listeners)

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

Audio is certainly having a moment – and we think that’s here to stay. 21% of the US population listens to podcasts with ~67 million Americans listening to the medium monthly. We built Anchor for anyone who wants to create, share or listen to great audio.

What’s your business model? How do you monetize podcasting as a service?

Right now we’re focused on continuing to build a great product, and ultimately, it’s a priority for us to help creators monetize on their work. As you can imagine, there’s many models to explore, such as implementing a subscription model or considering ad-support.

What was the funding process like?

We feel very fortunate to be supported by investors and partners who believe in Anchor and our mission to democratize audio.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

Looking ahead, we’re planning to use this round to: Grow the team. We believe that NYC offers an unparalleled pool for talent and creation. We’ll also have a heavy focus on product and design.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Stay focused on developing your product and looking for partners who believe in your mission and who will be able to help you grow.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

We plan to grow our team, keep building our product and make Anchor the best place for anyone to create, share, or listen to audio.

Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?

My wife and I have an 11 month-old daughter who’s recently become obsessed with swings, so this fall, we’ve been spending a lot of time at many of the playgrounds in lower Manhattan.

AlleyWatch: AlleyWatch is the destination for startup news; opinions and reviews; investment and product information; events reported, experienced, seen, heard and overheard here in New York. But it’s who we are that makes us different: we’re the writers and the entrepreneurs; the investors and the mentors; the lawyers and the marketers; the realtors and the recruiters – the people who work in the industry.