James Murdoch and Laurene Powell Jobs join a $12 million round backing a podcast startup as the audio market heats up

  • James Murdoch and Laurene Powell Jobs are backing a podcast startup through their investment firms.
  • WaitWhat netted $12 million in Series B financing to expand its content production.
  • The raise underscores the red-hot market for podcasts.  
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

James Murdoch is getting into podcasts. The former Fox CEO’s Lupa Systems is part of a group of investors that just raised $12 million in Series B funding for WaitWhat, the content company behind the podcast “Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman.”

Other investors include Raga Partners, Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, Capital One Ventures, Maywic Select Investments, and GingerBread Capital, according to WaitWhat. 

WaitWhat was started in 2017 by former TED execs June Cohen and Deron Triff and raised $4.3 million in 2019. Along with “Masters of Scale,” it produces podcasts in categories like wellness, creativity and technology. It just hired a new chief operating officer, Nur El Shami, a former New York Times director of strategic operations; and new chief financial officer Andres Morón, formerly of Quartz. It plans to use the new funding to create communities around its digital self-improvement products.

Murdoch is slowly building a sizable portfolio of media and online businesses. He also owns stakes in Vice Media, Tribeca Film Festival; comic book company Artists, Writers and Artisans; and online learning ventures in India.

The podcast business is exploding with Spotify and Apple in an arms race to dominate the audio landscape. In a sign of how frothy the market is becoming, Spotify just signed a $60 million deal to onboard the former Barstool Sports’ “Call Her Daddy” host Alex Cooper. 

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