Sunday, August 21, 2005

VC -->Podcasting Goes Mobile

A lot of the digital avante guard are excited about podcasting. I've heard podcasting described as blogging for audio. The idea is that anyone can easily record and mix his or her own radio-style program or commentary. That program is then distributed, via the Internet, to anyone who wants to download the music file and listen.

The term "podcasting" originates from the words "iPod" and "broadcasting." Thanks to Apple, iPod has become the defacto term for anything involving digital audio. Apple has embraced the trend and is trying to capitalize on it.

Now others are trying to capitalize on it as well. Blinkx, for example, is trying to index podcasts and make them searchable. Venture capitalists are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Podshow, a new venture that hopes to be a podcasting portal that aggregates, delivers, and tries to help people create podcasts. It's picked up $8.85 million from Sequoia, and Kleiner Perkins, as well as Adam Curry, the father of podcasting. Liz Gannes has written about it on RedHerring dotcom.

Add Odeo, which just got cash from Charles River Ventures, and a group of angels, including Ed Zschau, a former professor of mine at Princeton.

Now, Melodeo, a startup up in Seattle, has launched podcast delivery to mobile phones. The company is trying to capitalize on the explosion of mobile phone adoption, especially in the developing world, where iPods haven't quite managed to invade yet. The company has raised $9.5 million from Intel Communications, Ignition, GF Capital, and Voyager Capital.

I have a lot of questions about how these companies plan to make money. Perhaps more interesting for investors, are we gearing up for an iBubble?

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