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The rise of audio only 🔊

The rise of audio only 🔊
March 1, 2021

The Daily Stack is a daily private market insights newsletter by PrivCo, a private company intelligence platform. Read our previous insights.
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Years since radio first became a main source of information and entertainment, audio has re-emerged as a major force in households. Research shows that 1 out of every 4 American households now owns a smart speaker, and media companies are pouring more and more into audio-only content. Audio in the new age is increasingly seen as an easy-to-engage medium while one does other tasks like walking your dog and cooking. But 2021 has pushed the audio obsession even further.

Social Audio 
Influencers and celebrities have been flocking to the new, invitation-only voice chat application Clubhouse for uninhibited free talk on its platform. In a short time, the app has garnered massive attention, with its usage skyrocketing to nearly 10 million total downloads in Apple’s App Store as of last week. Since it is only available on iOS, it will be interesting to see the app launch in Google Play for Android will go. Its popularity has Facebook mulling a similar audio-only social feature and had Twitter launch its voice-based Spaces feature in December last year. Netflix also has an audio-only feature in beta for its Android application.

Meanwhile, Clubhouse isn’t the only private social audio company. These companies are also offering audio-chatting features with their application.

Marketing via Audio 
Companies like Spotify made big bets on audio long before Clubhouse. Now Spotify is looking at ways to better monetize its content, launching Spotify Audience Network for marketers to manage their own campaigns. Its most recent purchase of Washington-based podcast advertising platform Megaphone for $235MM will be a sure boost to its future revenue stream. 

🎙 For more about natural language processing for audio, read our previous stack

Twitter’s Super Follower 
Aside from audio, Twitter hopes to gain new revenue with a subscription feature. 
[Forbes]
Best Buy bets on e-commerce
The electronics retailer lays off 5,000 employees and plans to close more stores, as consumers are shifting to buying online.
[CNN]
Since last week, PrivCo has added:
6,804 Companies | 265 Funding Activities | 131 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Klarna raises $800MM 
Consumer Finance • Equity • Columbus, OH

Truvian Sciences raises $105MM from multiple investors 
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BetterUp raises $125MM led by ICONIQ Capital
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Equity Bee raises $20MM
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Torii Labs raises $10MM led by Wing Venture Capital
Workflow Management Software & Internet Services • Round A • New York, NY

January AI raises $8.8MM
Digital Health Software & Internet Services • Seed • Menlo Park, CA

Merck & Company acquires Pandion Therapeutics for $1.85BN
Health Care Services • Acquisition • Cambridge, MA

CIGNA acquires MDLIVE 
Health Care Providers • Acquisition • Fort Lauderdale, FL

LTC Global acquires Northcoast Brokerage Agency
Insurance Underwriting • Acquisition • Cleveland, OH

Hydrobuilder Holdings acquires Elevated Equipment Supply
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Continental AG acquires Recogni
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