Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Podeo Wants To Help Arab Creators With An End-To-End Platform To Start A Podcast Founded in 2019, Podeo is a podcast platform that enables creators and publishers to record, host, produce and distribute their podcasts on global podcasting directories, including the platform's own application.

By Pamella de Leon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Stefano Fallaha, co-founder and CEO, Podeo

This article is part of our ongoing series on companies under the umbrella of Dubai-based in5, an enabling platform for tech, media, and design startups.  

Founded in 2019, Podeo is a podcast platform that enables creators and publishers to record, host, produce, and distribute their podcasts on global podcasting directories, including the platform's own application. Claiming to offer the largest number of Arabic podcast catalog in the world, the platform aims to localize the audio experience, featuring a number of shows in both Arabic and English.

Created with the vision to enable the digital audio ecosystem, the startup is the brainchild of Stefano Fallaha, Anthony Essaye and Mario Hayek. Fallaha, co-founder and CEO explains, "After seeing that creators are using more than five different tools to start a podcast, we developed an end-to-end platform for creators, accessible through a web app to start, record, host, distribute and grow their podcast."

For creators, besides providing a platform to host, distribute and manage content, the platform also offers analytics and metrics insights to enhance content and learn more about their listeners. Whilst for listeners, it offers a free-to-use listening app (available for iOS and Android devices) with hyper-local podcasts for a personalized listening experience, as well as access to a library of more than four million international and Arabic podcasts. It also caters to advertisers by allowing brands to reach its target audience -whether mass or niche market- by choosing the right podcast.

Anthony Essaye, co-founder, Podeo

As a freemium app, listeners don't have to pay for a subscription fee. However, for creators, it offers a variety of subscription tiers, such as freemium, podcaster (for US$30 monthly), premium (for $100 monthly), and enterprise is on a quote basis.

And it has gained traction too- according to Fallaha, the platform has increased their listeners by "15 times in 12 months, and we are growing our creator base by 20% quarter on quarter." Working with a number of brands and media houses across the MENA region, the platform is home to the podcasts of Mastercard Middle East and Africa, 2022 FIFA World Cup, Abu Dhabi Khalifa Fund, Lovin' Dubai, and Al-Bilad Media and Publishing, among others.

Mario Hayek, co-founder, Podeo

It also raised an undisclosed seed round early in 2021, led by Razor Capital with co-investments from Globivest VC and other strategic individual investors with backgrounds in the media tech industry. With the funding, the team plans to widen the platform's accessibility to its Arabic listeners.

The startup has set up its base at in5 Dubai. Besides making use of in5's offerings of services, co-working spaces, networking opportunities, and a streamlined process to set up a business, the co-founders also believe that their enterprise shares a similar goal with the entity. "[Both entities] enable creators. We both believe in educating the UAE market on podcasting," says Fallaha. "Getting access to recording studios and office spaces strategically located across Dubai, played a significant role in our decision to be part of in5." In June 2022, Podeo and in5 also partnered to train creators to become podcasters by offering a series of workshop sessions from June 3-24, 2022, in in5 Media, located at Dubai Production City, with it set to end with a podcast competition on June 25, 2022.

For Fallaha, watching Podeo grow from a mere idea to becoming a company with more than 30 team members working to "make an impact and disrupt the podcast landscape, starting from the Arab world" has been most rewarding part of his entrepreneurial journey. As for the road ahead, he says that Podeo will be continuously rolling out new products and features to make the creators' journeys easier and more enjoyable. Plus, the team is also working on regional and global partnerships with various stakeholders of the media ecosystem. "The end goal for Podeo is to become a global audio infrastructure that enables creators to start, scale, and monetize their content," Fallaha concludes.

Related: Startup Spotlight: Tech Platform Hikayati Promotes Inclusive Representation By Producing Personalized Children's Books For The MENA Region

Pamella de Leon

Startup Section Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.

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