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HowStuffWorks is the latest podcast company to round up new funding

The people behind “Stuff You Should Know” have $15 million from The Raine Group.

A pair of red headphones in a display of iPod nano music players Adam Berry/Getty Images for Apple
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here’s even more money for podcasting: HowStuffWorks, the people who bring you popular shows like “Stuff You Should Know,” have a new infusion of $15 million and are spinning out from parent company System1.

It’s the latest indicator that at least some investors think there’s a lot of upside to podcasting, which to date has been a very modest industry. Earlier this summer, we saw investments in podcast studio Gimlet Media ($15 million); podcast network Dgital Media ($9.7 million-plus) and podcast distributor Art19 ($7.5 million).

HowStuffWorks has a complicated corporate history that involves many different owners, one of which used to be Discovery Communications, which at one point was trying to turn some of its podcasts into video shows.

You can try to follow along here, but here’s the most recent chapter: Until today, HowStuffWorks was owned by System1, an ad tech company that used to be called OpenMail, and whose “about” page says it is partially funded by the Raine Group, the investment bank; HowStuffWorks’ PR rep says Raine now longer owns a stake in System1.

Got it? We’re not done yet: Now Raine is funding HowStuffWorks, which is spinning out on its own. That sounded to me like Raine was reshuffling an investment it had already made in one company into another. But Jason Hoch, HowStuffWorks’ chief content officer, says Raine is putting fresh money into his company.

Who else owns HowStuffWorks now? I went back and forth with the company’s PR reps and ultimately got this from Hoch: “Raine and System1 are the investors.”

Okay. Back to what the company does — HowStuffWorks has a roster of 14 shows, which it says generates 40 million downloads a month. It wants to build on that: Last spring it hired Mental Floss creators Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur to create more shows like “Part-time Genius,” and more recently it launched a comedy division.

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