Revolutionising podcasts

Acast is revolutionising podcasts

As more and more people turn to the Internet for their ‘radio’ fix, one award-winning Swedish startup has created a one-stop shop for all things audio.

Back in 2013, Karl Rosander and Måns Ulvestam saw a golden opportunity: podcasts. Audio on demand was a growing category but people weren’t making money, it was difficult to find and share interesting content and advertisers weren’t being served. In a nutshell, the demand was there but the ecosystem was not in place.

The serial entrepreneurs moved fast, creating an operating system that would serve the podcast community in all areas – and in April 2014, less than a year after they first conceived the idea, Acast was launched.

“Acast allows creators to publish, distribute and monetise podcasts on one system,” says Karl Rosander. “The platform is for everyone, from the passionate hobbyist who publishes one podcast a week, to media companies creating multiple shows daily.”

At its core, Acast has done for podcasts what companies like Spotify did for music: defining a category that needed to be organised and bringing together the three most vital areas: the creators, the listeners and the advertisers.

“Doing this means we add a lot of money to the podcast world,” says Rosander. “This really benefits users on all sides because more money means everyone – from the person broadcasting from their kitchen table to big media houses – now have the resources to create better content and reach more people.”

Currently, Acast is the only platform of its kind in the world. With big names such as Aftonbladet, Huffington Post, the Guardian and The Economist signed up, the company is already profitable in Sweden and the UK and is expected to be profitable in the US in the next year.

The company is also moving into Canada and Australia, as well as several other markets, and this kind of global growth means a lot of travel. Rosander says that being part of the SAS Credits program has been hugely beneficial to a company that books dozens of flights each month.

“I travel to the US every second week, so accruing credits helps defray travel costs within the company, which is important for keeping control of our spending. SAS Credits also helps with travel management, as booking and using our credits is simple. And we really like the new direct flights to New York and LA!”

As Acast grows, expect to see new stars emerge, a la Pewdie Pie on youtube.  Karl Rosander says that podcasts are exploding across the globe and will continue to do so as the market for on-demand matures. So what is his favourite podcast?

“I listen to a lot of podcasts, of course,” says Rosander. “But my absolute favourite is Listen to Lucy. Lucy Kelleway at the Financial Times has created a short, clever, and insightful podcast on how to run a business. It’s perfect for my lifestyle and schedule.”


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