In the world of streaming media, video and music seem to get all the attention these days. But podcasting may be one of the fastest-moving categories in the streaming space. To capitalize on this momentum, podcast startups are devising innovative new features that facilitate a better listening experience.
CastBox is one such podcast app maker. It’s a cross-platform podcast application is available iOS, Android, and Amazon Alexa, and the web. The app differentiates itself from the competition by offering in-audio search functionality, curated recommendations, and an expanding lineup of original content the company calls CastBox Originals.
Today, CastBox announced that it has closed a $13.5 million Series B round led by SIG China, with participation from prior investors including IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and GSR Ventures. According to Crunchbase data, the company has raised $16.1 million in equity funding across three rounds, and this new capital will bring CastBox’s total capital raised up to $29.6 million.
A statement from the company said the new capital will be used to further develop its proprietary technologies. This includes the aforementioned in-audio search functionality, which transcribes and indexes spoken-word audio content so users can search for keywords and topics within the audio itself.
“Podcasting is still in its early stages but it’s growing at an incredible pace,” said Renee Wang, the founder and CEO of CastBox, in a statement. “This new injection of capital will allow us to continue iterating on our product across all platforms—from mobile to auto to smart homes—while delighting our listeners with fresh new content from CastBox Originals.”
CastBox launched its first original series last month. In partnership with IndyCar, the auto racing sanctioning body for Indy car racing, the podcasting company launched “Off Track With Hinch And Rossi,” a show featuring Indy car drivers James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi. The company also launched “Heard Well Now,” a show produced in collaboration with influencer music label Heard Well. All of CastBox’s original programming is available through the CastBox app and distributed through other podcast-streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.
A spokesperson said that the company is aware that podcast content and audiences skews male, so the company plans to launch a series of shows hosted by women “to get more women excited about podcasting.”
Podcasting is in its third or fourth wave. But this time, the medium’s time in the sun is backed by better-produced shows and better listening technology, all aided by the same cord-cutting trends that were around the last time longform digital audio was big. Perhaps this time podcasting won’t go back underground after all.