The French podcast platform Majelan has raised an additional €6 million in funding, according to EU-startups.com, to develop its app offering thousands of podcasts in one place. The startup is also publishing original audio content to compete with established companies like Apple, Spotify, Audible, and Luminary.
“Podcasts are growing in popularity in France, with more than 4 million people in France listening each month, a 25% increase over last year. In the United States, where this market is more advanced, 73 million Americans already use podcasts every month,” according to co-founder and CEO Mathieu Gallet.
Gallet is the former CEO of Radio France, and created Majelan alongside Arthur Perticoz, co-founder of the startup Wynd.
Unlike many other podcast platforms, Majelan isn’t aiming for a specific audience, but is instead providing a one-stop platform with audio content for a wide range of listeners, in the vein of services like Netflix and Spotify.
However, Gallet has rejected the characterization of “Netflix for podcasts.”
“It’s an experience that is 99.99% free. We are a content aggregator, an RSS feed aggregator,” he says.
Majelan uses a subscription-based model that includes a free app offering aggregated podcasts, as well as a premium service with exclusive content available for €4.99 each month. Majelan offers this paid subscription service in lieu of an ad-based model—you won’t find banner ads or audio ads when using Majelan.
Like Spotify and Netflix, Majelan uses an algorithm to provide personalized suggestions for each user based on what they’ve listened to in the past. It also collects data for podcast creators, with reaction emojis available to users during a podcast. Majelan and third-party content creators can use this reaction data to adjust to listener preferences. The company says that it doesn’t plan to monetize the data itself.
Earlier this year, the service debuted with a library of 280,000 audio series, totaling 13 million episodes, available in 15 languages and in 50 countries.
The new funding comes from its existing investor Idinvest Partners fund, as well as Bpifrance, a new investor. Majelan also counts the French telecom billionaire Xavier Niel as one of its shareholders.
Majelan says the new funding will be used to develop new exclusive podcasts, and to expand its international presence.
“Historically, Europe has been driving cultural innovation. The audio sector is currently not pre-empted by a Chinese or American leader,” Gallet said. “France, and more broadly Europe, have a lot of cards to play.”
Photo by Mathieu Gallet [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.