Podcast network Dear Media raised an $8 million Series A round to expand its programming slate of women-focused audio shows and fund original projects, the company said Thursday. Dear Media will also use some of the funding to invest in direct-to-consumer product startups that make lifestyle package goods designed for women.
Dear Media was founded in 2018 by Raina Penchansky and chief executive Michael Bosstick as an offshoot of their existing West Hollywood-based influencer management firm Digital Brand Architects. Digital Brand Architects and Dear Media were acquired by United Talent Agency in February 2019, and Dear Media said it frequently draws from UTA’s vast talent roster to both host and appear on its shows.
“This medium has been in need of an update for a long time. Not only in the voices that are represented, but in the way those voices are able to engage in this space,” Bosstick said in a statement Thursday. “This investment will help us meet the strong demand we’ve seen from audiences for our programming to develop new business models that we believe are the future of audio and commerce.”
Dear Media has over 40 shows hosted on Apple Podcasts. The focus on topics including career development, parenting, wellness, activism and advocacy, relationships, and wellness. Its predominantly women podcast hosts include chef Gaby Dalkin who hosts a show called “What’s Gaby Cooking” and is running a limited edition series called “What’s Gaby Cooking in Quarantine” to help listeners stay nourished while using random left-over pantry ingredients.
Holding company Magnet Companies was the sole investor in the Series A and a new backer of Dear Media. Magnet Companies co-founder Jeff Berman said in a statement, “Dear Media is far more than a podcast network — it’s a home for a growing roster of spectacular talent and has created a unique monetization model that allows creators to make more in a much smarter way.”
Dear Media would not provide more details about its upcoming lifestyle brand and product plans. It may look to give some of its more well-known hosts their own product lines, or partner with notable women-focused or women-led brands. The company is one of few podcast networks in existence that is both focused on women’s programming and also partly women-owned.
“Before Dear Media was established these voices had been underrepresented and underutilized. We view our talent and shows as not only podcast channels but brands within themselves,” Bosstick said.