When the podcasting industry was still in its infancy, media entrepreneur Amira Valliani was an early adopter who saw its potential.
After experimenting with her own podcast and learning first-hand how difficult it was to put a podcast behind a subscription paywall, Vallani was inspired to help talented creatives monetize and grow their audiences.
She created Glow, a podcast monetization platform, to support podcasters at a time when it was unsure whether or how producers might develop business models around podcasting.
In the spring of 2021, she sold her startup to podcast hosting platform Libsyn, with the goal of expanding Glow’s reach, GeekWire reported.
Libsyn bought Glow for $1.2 million, including $800,000 upfront and up to $400,000 over time, according to an SEC filing.
“Most people looked at me like I was crazy when I said that I was making it easy for podcasters to charge for content. No one thought that people would actually pay for podcasts on a large scale,” Valliani told GeekWire.
How Glow changed the face of podcasting
At the time of acquisition, Glow had partnered with nearly 75,000 podcasters to help build and monetize their podcasts. The company raised $2.3 million in venture capital.
Glow’s membership strategy at sale focused on subscriptions and private feeds. The platform also processes payments and allows podcasters to receive donations from listeners; it was one of the first platforms to do so, which fueled its popularity amongst podcasters. Since its creation, Glow has hosted popular podcasts like Techmeme Ride Home, Acquired, The Newsworthy and Twenty Thousand Hertz.
The company had four full-time employees and three part-time employees at sale, GeekWire reported.
It was “bittersweet” to have her “baby” taken off her hands, but it felt like the right move, Valliani said in an interview with The Ismaili Connection.
“What’s great about Libsyn is that they are one of the longest standing players in the podcasting ecosystem,” Valliani said in The Ismaili Connection interview. “The value prop for us was simple; we are really passionate about getting this technology in the hands of as many people as possible.”
Libsyn planned to incorporate Glow as a way of “bringing more customer-requested monetization services to our community of podcasters,” according to Libsyn’s announcement about the deal. Adding Glow to the company’s portfolio allowed podcasters to access a hosting platform where they can measure analytics and monetize, all in one place.
Libsyn also acquired podcast creation business Auxbus and podcast advertising company AdvertiseCast in 2021.
Valliani declined to comment for this story. She now leads the policy team at the Solana Foundation, according to her LinkedIn profile.