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Podcast startup Kaleidoscope raises new funding

Kerry Flynn
Mar 11, 2022
Illustration of a microphone on top of a stack of dollars.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Podcast startup Kaleidoscope has raised $3.5 million in convertible notes for seed funding led by North Base Media, the co-founders tell Axios.

Why it's the BFD: As podcasts grow in popularity, creators and investors see potential in building out more genres and creating new intellectual property.

  • "All the genres that we love in books and movies haven't been explored fully. ... Everything from romance to heist to Westerns to all these beautiful genres and adventure stories can be told in the space," says co-founder Mangesh Hattikudur.

Details: Kaleidoscope plans to create a portfolio of brands where they retain ownership.

  • "We could be cash positive from day one just by selling shows. But if we really want to create a library of IP that we own and where the only question we have to ask ourselves is 'Do we believe in the story?' ... we have to finance it ourselves," says Oz Woloshyn, a Peabody- and Emmy-award-winning journalist.
  • Participating investors are The Raine Group, former MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston, former Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles, author and creator John Green, Nimble Ventures partner John Burbank, Moby Media Group CEO Saad Mohseni and TPG Capital's Dirk Eller. 
  • Kaleidoscope was created by Woloshyn and Hattikudur, who's the co-founder of Mental Floss and former senior vice president of podcast development at iHeartRadio.
  • The leadership team also includes Laura Mayer, formerly of WNYC, Stitcher and Sony, as head of podcast operations and Costas Linos, formerly of Bertelsmann and Univision, as head of business affairs.
  • Kaleidoscope's advisory board is Freston, Coles, former Sony International President Andrea Wong and "Share" and "Euphoria" director Pippa Bianco.

What's next: Kaleidoscope has signed a six-show deal with iHeart, with four podcasts expected this fall.

  • The team also spoke with media brands and Hollywood studios about potential partnerships.
  • "Now that there's this IP goldmine for podcasting, there's also some desire for vertical integration," Woloshyn says.
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