Why These Four Startup Founders Launched a Podcast

The popularity of podcasts has skyrocketed in recent years, with more and more entrepreneurs now incorporating them into their marketing strategy to connect with their audience, personalize their brand and grow their business.

The decision to start a podcast should not be taken lightly. It requires a lot of planning and preparation, and the time and effort required can slow down the business. It must also come from a passion to champion a cause and provide value to your audience. When this aligns with a company’s marketing goals, a podcast can reap huge benefits for the business.

Redefining recruitment

Subscription recruiting service Talentful launched in 2015 as a disruptive recruiting solution for the tech industry. It grew out of founders Chris Abbass and Phil Blaydes recognizing a widespread need for a scalable, in-house recruiting solution that works on a subscription basis rather than the commission-based pricing model favored by other recruiting service providers.

Talentful launched its podcast, Hiring On All Cylinders, earlier this year and discusses a wide range of topics, from remote work to complex strategic planning, and explores how leaders are redefining the role of talent acquisition in company leadership and repositioning talent at the forefront of their organization’s success.

Finding and securing visitors was the number one challenge, explains CEO Abass. “In the early stages, without the guarantee of a huge audience and a history, there was a reliance on the goodwill and open-mindedness of the guests,” he says. “This is where guest alignment with your podcast topics and themes is so important. If they believe in the subject, they can be sure that the audience will come.”

To other entrepreneurs considering a podcast, Abass recommends building a support network around them to share the workload. “I was able to rely on Talentful’s marketing team for editing support, as well as our partnerships team and my own EA for branding, production, editing and programming input.”

Collaboration and community

DagsHub is a place where data scientists can host their machine learning projects, including code, data, models, experiments, etc., and collaborate on them efficiently based on open source tools. The business launched in January 2021, followed by The MLOps Podcast three months later.

Co-founder and CEO Dean Pleban says, “There’s content about machine learning that’s mostly focused on the research side, but less on moving models to production, and some great insights that aren’t documented anywhere else that could be useful to the community . To build a successful company in this space, you start with the community and individual data scientists creating interesting content. That’s why we started our podcast.”

Finding podcast guests is one of the biggest challenges podcasters report. However, Pleban found it easier than expected. “Some people are hard to find, but most people are open to conversation as long as it’s genuine and the topic interests them,” she says.

Scheduling is another challenge since, by definition, podcasters work around different people’s schedules. “One option is to record multiple episodes and release them over a longer period of time,” says Pleban. “It’s another to have ‘wild’ guests. If you don’t think you’re going to make a new episode in time, they’re willing to pitch in at the last minute and their ideas are still interesting to the community.”

The podcast increased Dagshub’s recognition as a brand and thought leader and allowed the team to more easily connect with industry experts and thought leaders.

Visibility for validation

Sport BUFF’s sports tech podcast, Ahead of the Game, features prominent figures from the sports and broadcast industry and has become a vehicle for the gamification and screen engagement specialist to promote their product in a visible space to investors, competitors, colleagues and partners alike.

Founder Benn Achilleas says: “This visibility gives us a validation that is important for such an innovative solution. It provides leads and exposure to guest networks and gives us a voice on the crowded, often misunderstood topic of fan engagement. It also provides great content for our Twitch channel, website and social media channels.”

The challenges of producing such content in such a busy startup are the lack of time and resources, as the creation of podcasts takes staff away from their day-to-day responsibilities. A balance must be struck between benefit and business loss. “Booking guests, scripting interesting content and questions, etc. they’re typical issues with running any kind of publication or podcast, but they’re amplified when podcasting isn’t the main part of your business,” adds Achilles.

Attracting investments

Tom Fairey, founder of gaming startup Stakester, started his podcast, The Back Yourself Show, not as a vehicle to directly grow his business but to meet investors. The company launched in April 2019 and the podcast followed two months later.

“It didn’t take long to realize that my network was pathetic,” says Fairey. “I dug into the community, attended conferences, accelerators, and loose groups, all the while trying to gain insight into what people were talking about. And I found the loudest voices were the investors.”

The podcast strategy proved successful. Stakester has raised over £6 million, including more than £500,000 from people who have watched or listened to the show. “Also, those on the show referred me to investors who have investors. I didn’t have that network before, and now I’d say my network is strong. From a credibility standpoint, it makes a positive difference if you can refer to relationships with notable people within a community.”

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