The podcast was a hit, with eventual seasons turning their focus away from Gimlet and toward other up-and-coming companies. It helped Gimlet go on to raise an estimated $27 million in VC funding and establish a whole network of different podcast offerings. Eventually, "StartUp" even spawned a TV spin-off, an ill-fated ABC sitcom starring Zach Braff called "Alex, Inc." in Blumberg's honor.
The rapid success of Gimlet would seem to show that Blumberg, Lieber and the rest of the company have a knack for a lot of things. One of them, without question, is timing. The company's 2014 launch occurred mere months before the debut of a podcast called "Serial," a show that went on to become podcasting's first phenomenon and launch the medium into the wider consciousness. In the past five years, that spread has only continued, as podcasts have transformed from a niche medium with minimal advertising opportunities into a powerful presence in the worlds of news and entertainment.
The big audio companies, who want as much of your ear time as they can get, have taken notice. Spotify would certainly qualify. The music-streaming colossus has long had its own offerings, but the Swedish company recently signaled a newfound commitment to the space. As part of some very expensive podcasting plans, Spotify agreed to buy Gimlet this week for a reported $230 million.
It's the sort of exit all the startups on "StartUp" dreamed of. And it's one of six big things to know from the past week in VC: