Austin is experiencing an influx of business interest, from huge companies like Apple, which is investing a billion dollars into its new Austin campus, to smaller companies, like Dear Media Podcast Network.
Dear Media Offers a Fresh Way to Influence
Dear Media was founded in 2018 by two inspirational people: serial entrepreneur Micheal Bosstick (husband of mega-influencer and author Lauryn Evarts Bosstick, who runs The Skinny Confidential blog) and Raina Penchansky, founder of Digital Brand Architects, which describes themselves as the premiere influencer management company in the country.
Founded as a way to leverage The Skinny Confidential’s close connection with their audience and amplify female voices, Dear Media has grown from only a handful of shows to more than 50 — and 90 per cent of those are hosted by women.
The podcast network stands out for amplifying female voices, and many of its talented hosts are household names. Whitney Port, of The Hills and The City fame, hosts With Whit, a show about relationships, parenthood, entrepreneurship, beauty, fashion, health, and wellness. Debra Messing is another familiar name, hosting The Dissenters, a political podcast about advocacy and challenging the status quo.
Austin is the New Frontier for Dear Media
Dear Media moved from Los Angeles to Austin during the pandemic, citing Texas’ welcoming attitude towards small businesses, as well as the accessible real estate market and high-quality schools. Bosstick explained on his podcast, The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Show: “Texas is a very business-friendly state…There is a mass exodus going on. There’s a lot of opportunity in Austin with Tesla, Oracle, and Apple opening major offices over there… From a business standpoint, I do think it’s one of the next frontiers…”
Bosstick was worried that he would have to do some major convincing with his wife and business partner Lauryn but was stunned when his pitch to move to Austin was immediately accepted. Lauryn, a new mother and native Californian, had the opportunity to consider what she really wanted out of life once the pandemic hit.
She found that she wanted more proximity to nature and the chance to build her dream home — two things that Austin, whose real estate market is extremely accessible compared to Los Angeles or New York City, can provide. On the same podcast episode, Lauryn also admitted to being swayed for similar reasons as her husband, citing Texas’ attitude towards small businesses for her eagerness to move: “I think that the way Texas has handled small businesses [and their needs] is pretty strong.”
Austin Is a Hotbed of Entrepreneurial Activity
Dear Media’s move to Austin could not have come at a better time for the city’s business community. In 2020, the podcast network announced that it had raised $8 million in Series A funding, backed by Magnet Companies, a private equity holding firm. Magnet Companies co-founder Jeff Berman said in a statement: “Dear Media is far more than a podcast network — it’s a home for a growing roster of spectacular talent and has created a unique monetization model that allows creators to make more in a much smarter way.”
We’ll likely see more business owners and freelancers flock to Austin, a city that is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity with one of the largest local online freelance communities in the nation.
Podcasting Is a Booming Industry
Podcasting as a medium is becoming a big business, growing exponentially year over year. According to Deadline: “Podcast revenue grew 19% in 2020 to hit $842M, despite the pandemic, up from $708M in 2019 and $479M in 2018.”