Podcast listening app Castro has been acquired by Tiny, an organization that owns and invests a variety of internet businesses. Among the companies in Tiny’s portfolio are: the design platform Dribbble, the creative freelancer network Crew, and the startup job board Unicorn.
Here’s the reasoning behind the acquisition, as told through a blog post by Supertop, the company behind Castro: Castro has reached a size where the demands of running the business have been pulling us in too many different directions. We haven’t been able to focus as much on the core work of designing and building a product. Selling to Tiny gets Castro access to more resources, contacts and expertise. By growing the team we can specialize our roles to be more focused individually and get more done collectively. We can get back to what we’re good at and what we love doing.
The podcasting industry has been consolidating lately. WNYC bought Pocket Casts this year, Anchor is backed by VC investment, Google launched a podcast app for Android, and Apple is paying much more attention to podcasts than before. We want Castro to stay relevant and we want to keep having an influence on the direction podcasting takes. (A clarification: a consortium of public radio companies bought Pocket Casts, not just WNYC. It’s a crucial distinction for some readers.)
FWIW, I have a feeling we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg on this thing…
Anyway, whatever the case, I’m glad that Castro can keep doing what it’s doing. It’s one of the main apps that I use for listening, chiefly due to the strength of its inbox-management style UI that fits with my personal needs — which, granted, is exceptionally voluminous and not particularly representative of most people, but still.
The central question to play with in relation to this story: what’s the future of standalone podcasting apps in the wake of increasing participation by platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and Google? This, I think, is contingent on another question: what lanes are left when it comes to capturing the consumer experience? (There are, I suspect, quite a few.)