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Acast founders' Sesamy helps publishers monetize

May 22, 2024
Photo illustration of Måns Ulvestam and Karl Rosander next to the  Sesamy logo

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Sesamy

Stockholm-based software startup Sesamy is considering a capital raise in the fall to help it scale and pursue acquisitions, the co-founders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The 4-year-old startup is led by founders of Acast, the Swedish tech company that was an early bolster of the podcast industry by helping with monetization.

Catch up quick: Karl Rosander, Måns Ulvestam and Markus Ahlstrand founded Acast and individually left the company prior to it going public on the Swedish stock exchange in 2021. They founded Sesamy in 2020, which launched in April 2021.

  • The 22-person company has offices in Stockholm and Málaga, Spain; the latter is where Ahlstrand is based.
  • Sesamy has raised $7.7 million in total. Its $3.4 million seed round in 2022 was led by GP Bullhound with participation from Co_Made and Brofund.

How it works: Speaking with Kerry at Sesamy's Stockholm office, Rosander and Ulvestam shared a vision to support publishers' monetization strategies by offering one-off purchasing of articles and podcasts and other tools to manage subscribers.

  • According to Sesamy's data, 7% of people who buy a one-off article become a subscriber within 17 days on average.
  • "Publishers [are] reluctant to try this ... because they think it will cannibalize on their existing revenue, but we've proven it actually works the other way around. This is the best funnel they can have for new subscribers," Ulvestam says.
  • Sesamy works with about 40 publishers and 40 podcasts. It charges a monthly subscription fee, with the cost depending on the number of services used. It also takes a cut of revenue from podcast subscriptions.

What's next: Rosander says Sesamy is considering hiring in London and elsewhere for sales.

  • A future raise could support acquisitions of other software and data companies that would complement its services, he says.
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