Gumball Raises $10 Million To Grow Its Podcast Ad Marketplace

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Gumball Raises $10 Million To Grow Its Podcast Ad Marketplace

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Gumball, a Los Angeles-based adtech platform allowing advertisers to place “host-read” ads on podcasts, has raised $10 million in Series A funding, it announced Tuesday.

The funding round, led by venture firms Union Square Ventures and Good Friends, takes Gumball’s total funding to date to $12 million, the startup said. Gumball plans to aggressively expand its adtech platform by adding hundreds of new shows as well as more advertisers, co-founder and CEO Marty Michael told dot.LA.


While ads read by podcast hosts are ubiquitous on the format, Gumball contends they are one of the few areas in digital marketing that haven’t been touched by technology or delivered at scale. The company’s platform allows advertisers to more easily find and buy host-read ad spots from independent podcasters, who in turn gain access to big brands. Netflix, Squarespace, AMC and LinkedIn are among the major brands that have used Gumball, according to the company.

Gumball was launched in late 2019 by the team at Headgum, an L.A.-based comedy podcast network, also co-founded by Michael, that has used the platform to sell ads on its own shows for the past two years. The idea for Gumball came as Headgum wanted to expand its podcast network and needed a solution to the archaic process of selling host-read ads, the CEO said.

“I quickly realized that to scale this operation past 30 shows, it was going to require one of two things: Either we were going to have to hire a bunch more people to support the overly manual process that goes into selling a host read ad, or we could create a technology that would support that process and automate it,” Michael said. “We decided to do the latter.”

Marketers pay to use Gumball’s platform, while the startup keeps a “small percentage” of the revenues generated by podcasters through its platform, Michael said. (He declined to share specific figures.) The company has 24 employees and aims to grow its team to at least 30 by the end of this year.

Also investing in Gumball’s Series A round were Craft Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners, Animal Capital, Calm Ventures, Gaingels and Riverside Ventures.

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Faraday Future Reveals Only 401 Pre-Orders For Its First Electric Car

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Faraday Future Reveals Only 401 Pre-Orders For Its First Electric Car
Courtesy of Faraday Future

Electric vehicle hopeful Faraday Future has had no shortage of drama—from alleged securities law violations to boardroom shake-ups—on its long and circuitous path to actually producing a car. And though the Gardena-based company looked to have turned a corner by recently announcing plans to launch its first vehicle later this year, Faraday’s quarterly earnings report this week revealed that demand for that car has underwhelmed—to say the least.

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Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields
Courtesy of CropSafe.

This January, John McElhone moved to Santa Monica from, as he described it, “a tiny farm in the absolute middle of nowhere” in his native Northern Ireland, with the goal of growing the crop-monitoring tech startup he founded.

It looks like McElhone’s big move is beginning to pay off: His company, CropSafe, announced a $3 million seed funding round on Tuesday that will help it develop and scale its remote crop-monitoring capabilities for farmers. Venture firm Elefund led the round and was joined by investors Foundation Capital, Global Founders Capital, V1.VC and Great Oaks Capital, as well as angel investors Cory Levy, Josh Browder and Charlie Songhurst. The capital will go toward growing CropSafe’s six-person engineering team and building up its new U.S. headquarters in Santa Monica.

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Cedars Sinai Health Ventures’ Maureen Klewicki on How Tech Is Changing Health Care

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Maureen Klewicki
Image courtesy of Maureen Klewicki

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Cedars Sinai Health Ventures’ Maureen Klewicki talks about price transparency for health care, the labor shortage crisis and emerging payment models.

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