Please welcome Wondery, your new favorite podcast network

Meet Wondery, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Los Angeles, California

Founder: Hernan Lopez

The problem: With a low barrier to entry, many new podcasts are popping up in the quickly growing space. But, more options doesn’t mean better options. There are 500,000 podcasts yet nothing to listen to, says Hernan.

Wondery’s solution: Wondery creates immersive, storytelling-based podcasts in the true crime, entertainment, history, business and personal growth verticals that think outside the box of current offerings on other networks.

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Origin story: After an 18-year career at Fox, Hernan noticed that print, TV, and music had transitioned to on-demand, but “active listening” had not. He set out to create a podcast company that would produce quality long-form content driven by immersive storytelling. Drawing on lessons from the television industry, from how to greenlight, make, and market shows, to how to build habit, he hired a small team and launched his first podcast in April 2016.

Why we’re betting on it: We’ve made bets on groundbreaking new media companies such as BuzzFeed, Axios, and Group Nine Media, to name a few. Wondery is our first foray into podcasting, a sector we believe will continue to drive how people consume audio content in the years ahead. We believe now is an ideal time to invest in a podcast network and know Hernan, with his extensive background in digital media, can build Wondery into an industry leader.

Our take: The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in consumer interest in podcasts, with more than one in four Americans tuning in each month. As the number of podcast listeners grows, so does the demand for great original content. This development, paired with the rapid adoption of smart speakers in the home, will expose a greater number of consumers to various programming options. Wondery is poised to tap into those markets with its lineup of original, immersive shows spanning diverse formats and themes.

Further reading: “Wondery wants to become Hollywood’s podcast dream factory” via TechCrunch

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