Ron Baetiong, Co-Founder, Podcast Network Asia
Ron Baetiong, Co-Founder, Podcast Network Asia (Image: LinkedIn)

Filipino mediatech startup Podcast Network Asia (PNA) has raised a $750,000 Seed fund round. In a Facebook post, the company shared the news of the successful fundraising: “This year, we’re only getting bigger and better! Proud to have closed our seed round and reached exponential growth despite the pandemic.”

Investors who participated in the round include Philippine-focused venture capital firm Foxmont Capital, Summit Media President and CEO Lisa Gokongwei, and startup-focused VC firm Venturra Discovery, the seed investment arm of the Jakarta-based Venturra Capital. The local online streaming platform Kumu also joined the round, making PNA its first investment.

In a statement, PNA said that it intends to use its new investment to finance its expansion to other parts of Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Part of the new investment will be used to improve the agency’s production and to enhance its performance analytics.

PNA employs a data analytics platform powered by artificial intelligence to generate useful insights for podcasters and display suitable recommendations to listeners. With the new fund infusion, the company plans to improve its system further to deliver better services.

Ron Baetiong, Co-Founder of PNA, welcomes the successful fundraising, saying that “podcasting is about to enter its golden age.” He noted the impressive state of podcasting in the Philippines and the big potential of PNA to become an international force in the podcasting market. “With the Philippines as the 6th fastest-growing country in terms of listenership, we can scale up and continue the momentum we’ve built in the Philippine podcasting industry and replicate it across the region,” Baetiong said.

The emphasis on the PNA’s focus on improving the tech aspect of podcasting can be traced to Baetiong’s experiences with a diverse set of verticals. He is regarded as the creator of ChatbotPH, the first and biggest chatbot development agency in the Philippines. Baetiong is also responsible for the creation of Partyphile, a nightlife app downloaded by more than 120,000 users.

Investor Lisa Gokongwei sees the exciting growth potential of PNA, noting that “podcasting is still in the early stages of growth in the country and that PNA has put a stake in the ground ahead with a scalable business model.”

Venturra Discovery Partner Raditya Pramana shares the same opinion, pointing out how “podcasting is still nascent within Southeast Asia.” Pramana thinks podcasting is having strong momentum in the region, noting how most of the top-charting podcasts were launched only within the past year. The industry has strong momentum as audio streaming platforms are doubling down on this segment,” Raditya Pramana added.

Foxmont also expressed confidence in the future of podcasting in Southeast Asia and the success of PNA, saying that podcasting is “poised to become one of the main avenues for media consumption in the Philippines and regionally.” Additionally, Foxmont praised the team and capabilities of Podcast Network Asia, saying that “PNA has the right team, capabilities, and services to help navigate both podcasters and corporations through this powerful new media.”

Podcast Network Asia has become the largest company of its kind in the Philippines in less than two years. To date, it serves a 10-million-strong listenership. The company started in 2019 following the success of Baetiong’s successful business podcast, Hustleshare. It also emerged as a winner in The Final Pitch program of CNN Philippines, wherein it secured a $62,400 investment.

In addition to its podcasting operations, PNA also runs Podmetrics, a platform for data analytics and ad exchange. The site serves as a way to monetize podcasts, serving as a hub for advertisers and podcast creators. The platform reportedly already has 415 registered podcasts.

Featured image credit: Unsplash