Raga Partners leads diverse investor group that includes Emerson Collective, Lupa Systems, Capital One Ventures, Maywic Select Investments, and GingerBread Capital
WaitWhat, which has built one of the most respected award-winning portfolios of premium content and IP across podcasts and other forms of digital media, announced today that it has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Downloaded 70 million times, WaitWhat’s media properties have defined entirely new genres in the areas of business (Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman), wellness (Meditative Story), creativity (Spark & Fire) and technology (Should this Exist?). In closing the round, the company intends to accelerate development of its innovative technology products; distinctive membership programs and partnerships that extend the core IP into multi-format media experiences.
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June Cohen and Deron Triff, the executives who built and led TED’s media organization from the launch of TED Talks through its global expansion, founded WaitWhat in 2017 to use the power of human narratives to invent entirely new media formats that are designed to help people reach their full potential, and become an integral part of their daily habits. The company’s success is rooted in its ability to scale each property beyond the podcast format, establishing an engaged community and ecosystem that extend into technology products, live experiences, story-driven learning programs, publishing, and first-of-their-kind partnerships.
“The significance of this round goes far beyond the money. It gives us the opportunity to deeply collaborate with this specific group of investors who understand how technology can convert the extreme passion we see in our users into massively vibrant communities to amplify ideas,” said WaitWhat Co-founder June Cohen. “Developing beloved, original content will always be core to our mission, but it’s only the first step for us. We’re now building a full suite of technologies and products to platform our content and bring it more deeply into users’ lives. You see that already with our Masters of Scale Courses App, which helps business leaders cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset, and has reached 10,000 early adopters in its first 8 weeks with 4.9 star rating. Now we’re working with forward-looking companies, who want to use the app in conjunction with their own leadership development programs, and with other media companies who want to adapt the technology to their own content.”
“Drawing on our background of investing in companies that have demonstrated the ability to build loyalty and community around high-quality content and experiences, we are big believers in WaitWhat’s approach to deliver durable and adaptive content, helping people become the best versions of themselves,” said Atul Joshi, founder and Managing Partner of Raga Partners, lead investor in WaitWhat’s Series B round. Raga Partners is a New York based private investment firm focusing on purpose-driven investments with long-term value potential. Raga’s Investment Committee is co-chaired by David Heller and Atul Joshi.
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From its earliest days, WaitWhat has worked in partnership with luminary guests to tell their stories in ways that impart the insight and experience they most want to share with the world. Today, WaitWhat has assembled one of the largest bodies of timeless wisdom, available for free, across business, wellness, creativity and technology. When users engage with WaitWhat’s products or podcasts, they’re tapping the collective knowledge of generous mentors including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Disney’s Bob Iger, Alex Rodriguez, Isabel Allende, Rubén Blades, David Duchovny, NetFlix’s Reed Hastings, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr, Director Rian Johnson, On Being’s Krista Tippett, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Pianist Lang Lang, Grammy winner Mickey Guyton, Tyra Banks, will.i.am and Adam Grant.
“What we most hear from communities who feel attached to our content is that they see their aspirations reflected back to them in the extraordinary people we feature. And this inspires a desire to share their own life experiences with others,” says Deron Triff, Co-founder of WaitWhat. “We see a very unique opportunity to create membership programs around shared purpose and collaboration, which runs deeper than the transactional nature of most perk-focused communities. The Series B funding will allow us to put this theory to the test, building off the profound personal connection we’re already seeing among Meditative Story members.”
WaitWhat also announced today two key hires that will help drive the company’s next phase of growth. Former New York Times executive Nur El Shami joins the company as Chief Operating Officer, and former Quartz executive Andres Morón steps in as Chief Financial Officer.
Along with Raga Partners, other Series B investors include Emerson Collective, Lupa Systems, Capital One Ventures, Maywic Select Investments, GingerBread Capital, Burda Principal Investments, Cue Ball Capital, and Reid Hoffman.
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