Michael Mignano has joined the consumer practice of the sprawling venture firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, after previously co-founding the podcasting platform Anchor and then leading Spotify’s talk audio business after the streaming giant acquired Anchor in 2019 for more than $150 million.
Interestingly, Mignano joins a firm that did not invest in Anchor, though he says in a new Medium post that he first met Lightspeed when he was out fundraising for his then-nascent startup. (Founded in 2015, Anchor went on to raise $14.4 million from Homebrew, GV, Accel, Betaworks and Eniac Ventures, among others, before it sold.)
Mignano says in that same Medium post that he’s excited to back creative teams regardless of where they are in the world, though it’s also evident from a Substack newsletter he authors that he remains passionate about podcasting in particular.
In a post yesterday, for example, he makes the case that the majority of the world’s podcasts will ultimately give their audience the opportunity to both listen as well as watch, a la The Joe Rogan Experience (where Elon Musk was famously seen puffing away on a spliff while being interviewed by Rogan in 2020).
It’s a matter of money, largely, says Mignano, writing that podcast revenues are expected to exceed $2 billion this year, while YouTube generated nearly $29 billion in video ad revenue last year alone. “In other words,” he continues,”the video market is vastly bigger than the podcast market. As more and more podcasters turn to video, more revenue will be unlocked for their shows.”
Little wonder podcasting is still top of mind for Mignano for now. According to the Verge, Anchor has become the most-used podcast hosting platform, with one out of four new podcast episodes published through Anchor.
Mignano is based in New York, where Lightspeed recently opened an office that will be also be staffed by investors James Ephrati and Adrian Radu.
When he left Spotify in early May, it came fast on the heels of two other executive departures. Courtney Holt, a top executive with Spotify’s podcasting business, left after four years in a split that was described to Variety as amicable. (Holt hasn’t announced his next move yet.)
Former New York Times reporter Lydia Polgreen, who was helping to run the podcast studio Gimlet, which Spotify bought for a reported $230 million in February 2019, meanwhile left the company in April to rejoin the Times.