For a startup you may never have heard of, this story spans ~7 years and shows the incredible opportunity in Australia to persevere with an idea/goal and see success.
Omny Studio is a Melbourne-based enterprise podcasting software-as-a-service startup. Founded in 2012 by Andrew Armstrong, Edward Hooper and Long Zheng, the company has a rich history in audio software and services, formerly developing SoundGecko text-to-speech and Omny personalized radio, before launching the Omny Studio platform in 2015. Today the platform is actively used by thousands of podcasting and broadcasting clients, powering world-leading publishers internationally.
There’s a number of articles online about the evolution of Omny Studio and even blog posts from the co-founders. The team originally started with an app called 121cast, then SoundGecko launched in July 2012, a TTS (text-to-speech) app. They originally saw success from promotional posts from The Verge and Techcrunch.
“121cast” began as one of four companies chosen for Melbourne’s Accelerator Program.
The team progressed to building Omny Radio, and hired Jarrod Robins in April 2013 to lead mobile development. He stayed with the company for 2 years, 10 months.
Later came the pivot to Omny Studio, an idea from their content producer Matt Saraceni who saw a more technical and functional need of the software for content producers to be able to easily get their audio online, track performance etc. This involved focusing resources and shutting down SoundGecko on March 1st, 2015.
After many months of development, their major break came after launching Omny Studio at the Radio Days Europe Conference. From there, hundreds of radio stations signed up to try the platform. Throughout the rest of 2015 their user base and profits came more from B2B than the consumer app and pushed them to seriously consider pivoting strategy.
Sharon Taylor joined the team in early 2016 to run operations and later took over as CEO.
Late 2016, with the help of Romesh Wiss, a Swiss management consultant who was keen to get startup experience while visiting Australia on sabbatical, they made the call and doubled down on Omny Studio. From there on Omny Radio would be decoupled from the platform until it could be shut down.
In 2019, Triton acquired Omny Studio and integrated it into their own service offerings. The addition of Omny Studio’s comprehensive CMS and hosting capabilities into Triton’s preeminent portfolio of streaming, advertising, and measurement technologies provides the world’s audio publishers with a one-stop-shop to increase their reach and revenue while simultaneously streamlining workflows.
While details of the deal made haven’t been revealed publicly, the business has raised at least $US1.7 million ($2.4m) in capital since its inception, according to investment tracking database CrunchBase, which would have put its valuation well into the millions.
Success didn’t come easy, Zheng said, and the business originally “struggled” to build significant traction with its personalised radio consumer mobile app. It was only after it pivoted to an enterprise podcasting service that it started seeing significant growth and notable traction.
- May 1, 2012 – Grant – University of Melbourne – $20,000
- November 13, 2012 – Adventure Capital, SingTel Innov8. Optus – $250,000
- January 2, 2013 – Melbourne Accelerator Program
- May 1, 2013 – SingTel Innov8
- June 2, 2013 – Seed Round – $170,000
- January 2, 2014 – Seed Round – $300,000
- August 26, 2014 – Series A – $1M
- 2019 – Triton Digital – Acquisition
Omny Studio raised a total of $1.7M in funding over 7 rounds.
Triton Digital® is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry. Operating in more than 40 countries, Triton provides innovative technology that enables broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services to build their audience, maximize their revenue, and streamline their day-to-day operations. In addition, Triton powers the global online audio industry with Webcast Metrics®, the leading online audio measurement service. With unparalleled integrity, excellence, teamwork, and accountability, Triton remains committed to connecting audio, audience, and advertisers to continuously fuel the growth of the global online industry. Triton Digital is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).
Omny Studio still has a company page on LinkedIn with 9 employees listed. Triton Digital has 198 employees with 4 listed in Australia. Tritons employee growth over the past 2 years is 25% with most being engineering roles.
We’ll see what the future holds for Omny Studio in Australia. Very interesting to browse through the profiles and see the progress and career direction of the co-founders and early hires of the business.