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Acast buys South African-founded podcast start-up

Lauren Kate Rawlins
By Lauren Kate Rawlins, ITWeb digital and innovation contributor.
Johannesburg, 25 Apr 2019
Acast has acquired Pippa, a start-up co-founded by South African Simon Marcus.
Acast has acquired Pippa, a start-up co-founded by South African Simon Marcus.

Pippa, a podcast technology firm founded by South Africans, has been acquired by large global podcasting company Acast, for an undisclosed amount.

Podcasts have risen sharply in popularity over the last few years. The digital audio files are typically available as a series, in a talk show format or fiction stories.

Pippa and Acast cater to podcast creators who need a place to host their content and easily distribute it to the numerous apps through which people listen to podcasts, like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Pippa was started by South Africans, Simon Marcus and Timothy Voice living in New York in 2016, as well as Erwan Jegouzo (who is originally from France). The team is still based in the US.

The platform provides people who create podcasts with a space to host their audio, making it easier to share to all the relevant outlets, and provides in-depth analytics on how their podcast is performing, as well as allowing them to place adverts in their creations.

Pippa was part of the first Techstars Music Accelerator in 2017 and is the first start-up from that programme to be acquired.

The company hosts some of the largest podcast publishers in Europe, as well as brands like Sony, Avon, Marriott and Microsoft, which have used Pippa's professional solution for podcast audio streaming and advanced analytics.

Founded in 2014, Acast is one of the largest podcast companies in the world. It acts as a platform for podcasters to host their audio files and offers ways for them to make money through dynamic adverts.

Some of the podcasts Acast has worked with include: My Dad Wrote a Porno, Off Menu, David Tennant Does A Podcast With, The Adam Buxton Podcast, Sanspants Radio, Alice & Bianca, Watch What Crappens and Varvet. The company has also hosted and worked with podcasts from publishers Times, Yahoo, Guardian, VICE and Vogue.

Acast says this is the first acquisition for the company and Pippa's technology will significantly expand its offering for a wider range of podcasters. The company says until now, Acast's tools have been available only to podcasts with an established number of listeners.

Simon Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Pippa.
Simon Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Pippa.

"Now, Pippa will bring Acast a consumer-facing offering that will enable any podcaster to sign up to host their show with just one click, while also having the ability to make money from their podcast from day one through Acast's monetisation tools," the company says in a statement.

"We're incredibly proud of what we've built at Pippa; a product that podcasters genuinely love. We've long admired Acast as the premier podcast company in the world, so we're confident that our forces combined will accelerate Acast's success in serving and spurring the growth of podcasters, advertisers and listeners worldwide," says Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Pippa.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that potential rival company Spotify plans to become the 'Netflix of audio', making several acquisitions of podcast companies, including podcast producers Parcast and Gimlet Media, and Anchor, a podcast services company.