These days, a would-be entrepreneur can cast an idea far and wide, and that’s just what Bradley Davis of Louisville did last year when he took his pitch for an IMDb-like podcast rating platform to the vast community of Reddit.
There didn’t. They did.
And that is how Podchaser was born. It is a podcast database, now in beta with over 6,000 users, that gives “listeners a place to find ratings/reviews on individual episodes, explore the podcast universe with granular tags and search filters, and follow their favorite talent (hosts, guests, producers, editors) across the space (that being our biggest ‘IMDb’ feature),” Davis said.
The podcast phenomenon began in the midaughts with the popularity of Apple’s iPod but took off a decade later with hits like “Serial.” The problem, as Davis laid out in his subreddit query, is that despite the podcast boom, searching for individual episodes is hard.
“I can’t find a good ranking system and find myself raking through forums and subreddits to find a good podcast episode,” Davis wrote. “Is there a site with a ranking system? If not, would anyone be interested in creating one? No better motivation for creating a service than wanting it to exist for yourself.”
He received a good number of responses, and in a subsequent post nine months later, he updated his progress: “A team of six of us from the US, Australia, and the UK have all banded together to create www.podchaser.com.”
The news was welcomed by one podcasting network, “Nerdy Show,” which said it hoped Podchaser would become the “epicenter of podcast appreciation and discovery.”
And Nieman Lab, which has been documenting all things podcast, described Podchaser’s effort as the latest to join the fray in trying to fix podcast discovery riddle (others mentioned by Nieman Lab include the app Breaker, OMNY, and the new site PodSearch).
Podchaser’s new spin, Nieman Lab added, is its focus on episodes rather than series, plus allowing user-generated tagging and reviews of episodes.
Davis has been pitching to investors hoping to raise $500,000 for product development and reaching the critical mass of users to make it all work in a seed round of financing with some recent success. In the pitch deck, Podchaser says it can make money through monthly subscriptions, “extremely” targeted ads and sponsored content.
Davis has the backing of the IMDb veteran John W. Gibbons in its assertion that Podchaser is the IMDb of podcasting. IMDb (now owned by Amazon) is the popular user-generated source for movie, TV and celebrity content.
In a Podchaser adviser spotlight on Medium, Gibbons, who is Podchaser’s first official adviser, said: “I mean this in all sincerity: I think it’s a really noble cause … IMDb is a historical compendium of human culture. That’s what it is. I think podcasts are the same thing, but there’s no organization to it.”
One local investor, Gill Holland, said he signed on precisely because of the IMDb-like qualities to Podchaser. “It makes sense if you look at the great usability of IMDb and IMDb Pro that Podchaser can just follow their template,” he said in an interview.
Davis, who was born in Florida but raised mainly in Evansville, Ind., moved to Louisville about a year ago. He has been busy with meetings of late.
Indeed, one day recently as he visited the new entrepreneurial center 1804 in NuLu, he huddled with Kelby Price, who directs investing for the Kentucky Enterprise Fund within KSTC (Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation), and Paul Ehlinger, its associate fund manager.
The two had taken an interest in his idea and wanted to help spread the word. “They are the kind of scalable technology company we want to support,” Price said, adding, “We are making introductions, so they can validate their idea.”
And the idea is sound, Ehlinger said, “Podcast discovery is an actual issue that Podchaser is trying to solve.”
For Davis, who still has a day job in sales, this flurry of support is a welcome surprise.
“I thought it would take more time, all it took a couple of cold emails,” he said, including applying to the Kentucky Enterprise Fund through the startup investing site Gust.com.
The people he is meeting with here “are not necessarily interested in the product financially, but interested in a startup succeeding in Louisville,” he said, adding he’s had two more investors. “I’m staking my flag here. I’m going to make it happen.”
This post has been updated to correct the headline.