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Between 2023 and 2028, market analysts predict that the podcast industry will grow by around ~$15bn USD.

Enter Message Heard: the award-winning podcast company, producing editorial & branded shows, monetising audience and exploiting IP.

With clients including Amazon, Spotify and the BBC, their success is also reflected in their strong retention and recurring revenue model, with over 70% of revenue coming from returning clients.

We sat down with the Founder & CEO, Luke Warren, to find out more about their Seedrs campaign.

We are so excited to be supporting your fundraising campaign. What made you choose equity crowdfunding at this time to raise investment for your business?

When we decided we wanted to seek funding, we reviewed a number of options and took advice from a number of funding experts. As a result of the advice, we decided that equity crowdfunding was the correct approach for Message Heard at this time, the key reasons being:

  • Simplicity
  • Cost
  • Support and advice available

We believe that a company with a quality podcasting offering is a good fit with the Seedrs investment community, as podcasts increasingly form part of everyone’s life, whether that is for informative purposes or entertainment from a rich vein of storytelling.

You claim that you are “more than just creators of original content” – could you talk us through how you believe Message Heard is disrupting the market?

The podcast market is in itself a disruptor. It has changed forever the way audio is perceived, utilised by business and of course consumed by us all. Enabled by new technology and driven by demand, Message Heard has been at the cutting edge of that disruption since its founding 6 years ago.

You’ve experienced some incredible revenue growth over the last few years, what have been some of the main drivers?

First of all, quality is at the heart of all we do: the stories we tell, the approach we take to sound quality and everything that encompasses.

This quality-first principle is reflected in the awards we win for our work, inclusive of: The ‘Best True Crime Award’ at the British Podcast awards, or ‘Best Podcast’ at the Lovvies, amongst a whole host of others.

Secondly, the Message Heard business model integrates multiple content – and therefore revenue – streams. Our breadth of offer across Branded, Editorial and Co-Productions and Commissions differentiates us from our competition and has allowed us to grow faster than the market.

We have made significant investment in the MH Discovery Method, which allows clients to make smarter and better decisions in how they use podcasts. It enables MH to build trust with new clients, allows returning clients to continue to unlock great ideas and allows the MH team to be more efficient in where we deploy our talents and at what stage. This trust leads us to sell on to our existing and expanding clients bases time and time again, with over 70% of clients providing us with repeat business and recurring revenue as a result.

Lastly, one of our key growth drivers has been the Message Heard commercial partnership model – the ‘force multiplier’. Our focus has been on developing  relationships with leading players, such as:

  • The CAA, one of the largest talent agencies in the world
  • Our recently signed partnership with production company Hidden Light, founded by Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton & Sam Branson
  • Our integration with the City University broadcast journalism course
  • Our partnership work around the world with The Guardian Foundation.

Ultimately, we believe our success so far has been down to our clear focus on the way we go to market, the proactive and integrated process we deploy to ensure effective selling, our quality-first production services and the scalable approach we adopt which is supported by our CRM system.

Talk us through your team: what experience do you have to make this business a success, and what key hires are you looking to make in the future?

Before founding Message Heard I had been both a journalist and documentary maker, primarily at VICE and the BBC. I had been a founding member of various media organisations where my key focus had been scaling, engaging and monetising young discerning audiences.

Our Head of Production has been with the business since the start in 2018, and Head of Sales since early 2021. The team are suitably skilled and effective, and are integral in building the future success.

I am ably supported by the rest of the Board, Louise, Andrew & Richard, who have individually accumulated significant and relevant business experience across many years.

The Message Heard team currently consist of 7 carefully selected full-time employees responsible for Sales, Marketing, Production and Operations. The core team is complemented with a number of contractors who provide support as a flexible resource in all facets of the business.

With the proceeds from this round, will be investing further in sales & marketing and production resource (in every sense of the word).

Why should our investors be excited about the next 12 months of Message Heard’s journey?

We will build on the foundation that has already become established.

We plan to renew our focus on the monetisation of our offering via:

  • the sale of sponsorship & advertising
  • live events specific to individual serie
  • optimising the relationship with CAA to sell IP to 3rd party networks, streamers & studios.

Vice-versa, we will look to create podcasts from the existing IP of other networks or studios.

We will also explore media adaptation into TV & film, using our new relationship with Hidden Light and others.

Finally, but not least, we will extend our suite of analytical tools, to provide customer and audience insight to assist clients with their own decision, thus making purchasing from MH again all the easier and a much more straightforward decision.

We believe the next 24 months are pivotal for MH, as we put all our current initiatives into practice, for the mutual benefit of all.

Thank you for your time in talking through your campaign with us!

Message Heard is now live Seedrs, seeking investment to further transform the power of storytelling.

Find out more about the campaign, and ask more questions directly to the founders, here.