Stockholm, SE — Sept 20, 2017
Acast (www.acast.com), the world’s leading technology platform for on-demand audio and podcasting, announced today that the company has secured a Series B investment of $19.5 million USD led by a group of Swedish Investors. Lead investors in the round were Swedbank Robur funds Ny Teknik and Microcap as well as Norron Asset Management’s funds Target and Select. This represents the first non listed investment for Ny Teknik and Microcap funds. Acast has now raised over $32 million USD to date including this most recent Series B from investors including Bonnier Growth Media, MOOR, Alfvén & Didrikson, the CNI Network, and Inbox Capital.
In the three years since its founding, Acast has pioneered the dynamic advertising insertion model, become the platform of choice for more than 2,000 audio content creators, and developed world class reliable statistics following international guides and standards to give content creators and advertisers the clearest understanding of listener behavior. The series B funding will be used to significantly expand and grow the already strong engineering team to continue to develop Acast’s premiere audio-on- demand technology suite. The new funds will also go towards accelerating the growth of the US market and expanding into new international markets. In 2017, Acast launched its 4th international market in Australia.
Acast is the largest global end to end platform for audio-on- demand, supporting more than 56 million listens each month. The company has built strong relationships with the content creators on the platform including both media houses and independent creators such as Watch What Crappens, The Financial Times, The Football Ramble, Spar, Varvet, VICE, and The Economist.
Acast was founded in 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden and points to their Scandinavian roots as a big part of their success. “Sweden is home to many of the world’s top streaming services, and Acast is no exception. The Scandinavian culture of early adoption coupled with an incredible network of sophisticated investors that see the value in new services and in pushing boundaries made it an easy choice to build and grow our business here,” said Mans Ulvestam, Acast Co-Founder and CEO. “This new financing round from Robur and Norron will allow us to bring our vision of the future of audio to life.”
“Acast is fundamentally changing the global radio landscape as we know it. The content environment is shifting quickly and as radio becomes less and less relevant, audio-on- demand will take its place.” said Karl Rosander, Acast Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “This is the future for Acast and we are honored to have attracted partners like Robur and Norron who support our vision.”
Podcasting is continuing to grow globally. In the US, monthly podcast listeners now number more than 67 million, an increase of 21% year over year. While in the UK 62% of adults listen to podcasts each month and the smartphone is the most popular device.
Carl Armfelt and Erik Sprinchorn, fund managers of Ny Teknik and Microcap funds said “Sweden and Stockholm are uniquely positioned to create technology driven consumer businesses and we are immensely happy to support entrepreneurs building world class businesses. Acast, with its ambition to be the world’s largest audio-on- demand hub, represents a superb opportunity for our fund unit holders to participate in this form of value creation.”
Nicklas Granath, founding partner and portfolio manager of Norron Select said “We are very pleased to be investing in what we consider the media of the future. With its strong and continuous growth and featuring the world's top podcasters, Acast is indeed at the forefront of this exciting technological and societal evolution that we are excited to be part of.” ABG Sundal Collier AB acted as financial adviser to Acast in relation to the financing round.
About Acast: Acast is the world’s leading technology infrastructure for audio on demand and podcasts. Founded in 2014 by Karl Rosander and Mans Ulvestam, Acast is a free-to- use technology platform connecting listeners, podcast creators and advertisers in a fully integrated, one-stop shop. Acast currently has more than 56 million monthly listens to more than 2,000 shows around the world. Founded in 2014, the company is headquartered in Stockholm, and has offices in London, New York City, Los Angeles, and Sydney. The Acast app is available for download from the Microsoft Store, iTunes and Google Play.
About Swedbank Robur: One of Scandinavia’s largest mutual fund managers with over SEK 1tn of assets under management (AUM) that serves approximately 3.1MM customers in Sweden and 1.1MM in the Baltic Region. Altogether there are approximately 80 investment funds under the Swedbank Robur brand covering all major regions, sectors and asset classes. More about the funds:
- Ny Teknik – is a fund that invests primarily in Swedish and Nordic companies that focus mainly on high-tech products and services. The fund has received many awards during the years the most recent one being named the best Nordic fund by Thomson Reuters in both the 3 year category and the 5 year category based on its performance.
- Microcap – was launched in april 2017 and is a concentrated fund which focuses on companies with business models that showcase a high degree of business innovation in the Nordic region.
Norron Asset Management: NAM is a leading Nordic investment manager with offices in Stockholm and Oslo. The company manages 6 different funds with a primary focus on Nordic companies with high growth and business value. The funds have a total of SEK 12 bn of AUM. NAM was awarded the price of Best Fund Company in 2016 by Swedish business paper, Privata Affärer. NAM has also won several international awards during the last few years, as an example, the company was named “best Nordic Capital Markets investment firm” (by AI Hedge awards), fund manager of the year (by ACQ Hedge). The most prestigious award was the Lipper Fund Awards, which we won in 2016 for our long term performance in Nordic equities.
- Norron Target: The fund’s objective is to achieve a stable return over time, combined with low volatility, in the range of 6-9 percent per year, regardless of the direction of capital markets. To be able to achieve the investment objective, the Sub-Fund will apply a combination of different strategies, in both the Nordic equity and fixed income markets. Equity exposure may be achieved through direct investments in equities, equity related derivative instruments and other equity related instruments, including swaps and convertible bonds, participation notes and equity linked notes. To hedge the equity exposure, the Sub-Fund will have short positions in equities through different derivative instruments, including swaps as well as equity and index related derivative instruments.
- Norron Select: Norron Select is a long/short equity fund. The fund identifies and invests in a number of companies listed on the Nordic markets. Holdings are hedged in varying proportions with index futures, index derivatives and short positions in selected individual stocks.