In the latest episode of Surprisingly Awesome, a podcast that reveals the awe-inspiring in quotidian subjects, Chumbawamba’s hit “Tubthumbing” is the topic. The episode explores how the catchy feel-good pop song of 1997 was actually the work of an anarchist collective that was executing a deliberate 30-year strategy to empower the working class and challenge the status quo in England. The unique series is part of Gimlet Media—a podcasting network that is turning the concept of audio journalism on its head.
This week, Gimlet Media raised a $6 million Series A at a $30 million valuation. The company was created by former This American Life and Planet Money producer, Alex Blumberg. As Blumberg chronicled his efforts to launch Gimlet through his podcast Startup, Gimlet gained serious traction as listeners tuned in to hear about a $1.5 million seed round and a $200,000 crowdfunding campaign. As the startup revolution continued to surge, this insightful business reporting became wildly popular.
Gimlet’s second podcast, Reply All, narrates the Internet’s stories and the company’s third podcast, Mystery Show, solves listeners’ mysteries. These type of high quality, in-depth podcasts are coming to define the the rapidly growing medium (i.e. Serial), to which Gimlet has quickly risen to the top.
The latest funding round was led by Graham Holdings, which also owns Slate. Other backers include one of Gimlet’s first investors, Chris Sacca, and $500,000 from listeners through a crowd investing platform.
Gimlet is planning on using the round to build out a sales team, invest in a new office space, hire up to 50 new employees between now and 2017 and expand its current lineup of podcasts. These shows will include a variety of programming ranging from genealogical explorations to Science Versus, a series on how cultural trends stack up against science.
Of course, the process for raising the round was recorded and revealed on an episode of StartUp.
At the end of the episode, Blumberg asks Tim O’Shaughnessy, Graham Holding’s President, what he sees for Gimlet in five years.
“I think that you guys [Gimlet Media] can build really high-quality content, and I think that in five years from now it’s totally plausible to me that you guys are a household name,” Shaughnessy said.