- Riyadh-based podcast platform Mohtwize has received $507,000 (SAR1.9 million) venture capital investment from Wa'ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco.
Founded in 2018 by a Saudi podcaster, Khaled Alkenaa, Mohtwize is an advertising-driven podcasting platform that matches content creators with corporate sponsors to monetise the podcasting business in Saudi Arabia.
Mohtwize claims to be the only platform in the kingdom to pay podcasters for their work, and to generate content with downloads of about two million every month.
Mohtwize plans to use the investment to further develop its software solution, expand staffing and increase the platform’s content.
Wa'ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, has announced a SAR1.9 million venture capital investment in Riyadh-based Mohtwize, a leading podcast tech developer across the Mena region aiming to empower audio content creators through podcast training and providing sponsorship opportunities.
The investment in Mohtwize, founded in 2018 by former podcaster Khalid Alkenaa, aims to create a sustainable business model for podcasts, a fast-growing medium in the Kingdom that already attracts 5.1 million regular listeners a week.
Mohtwize plans to use the investment from Wa’ed Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wa’ed, to further develop its software solution, expand staffing and increase the platform’s content, which is downloaded about 2 million times every month.
By helping monetise the podcasting niche and providing a more sustainable business model, Mohtwize’s platform is working to attract more content to the niche.
Podcasts are a fast-growing medium among Saudis ages 16 to 40 years old, and a recent study by Hootsuite Digital Report 2021 showed that Saudi internet users on average listen to podcasts for about 1 hour and 17 minutes each day.
But the growth of the sector has been held back by a lack of widespread funding for podcasters, who have had to rely on obtaining hard-to-get financial support from large corporate sponsors.
It was this challenge the Mohtwize founder faced with his own podcast, Fsool Mohtwize, which drew listeners but not financial support. So Mr Alkenaa developed Mohtwize, a sophisticated content delivery platform that bridges the gap between content creators and advertisers.
Mohtwize allows advertisers to select podcasts that best match their corporate goals, reaching audiences chosen according to metrics such as gender, earning power and interests. At the same time, Mohtwize acts as a financial enabler for creators, providing podcasters with advertising income to develop programming.
Mohtwize is currently the only content delivery platform paying Arabic podcasters per listens.
“Mohtwize is a smart way to monetise the podcast sector, and our platform is helping this sector grow and flourish in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region,” Mr Alkenaa said. “We are grateful to Wa’ed for helping Mohtwize take this fast-growing medium to a new level of financial sustainability and success.”
The decision to invest in Mohtwize aligns with Wa’ed’s desire to promote Saudi-based start-ups that are advancing the growth of the digital economy in the Kingdom, said Fahad Alidi, the Wa’ed Managing Director.
“Mohtwize’s unique platform is helping monetize Saudi Arabia’s podcasting sector and its sustainable financial model is supporting more content,” Mr Alidi said.
With Wa’ed’s financial support, Mohtwize this year plans to launch a technology solution that will allow corporate sponsors to place ads in archived podcasts. Often, podcasters work months or years before attracting a big listening audience. But once they do, listeners tend to seek out podcasts from their archives, listening to them for the first time.
Mohtwize’s new function will allow podcasters to monetise older podcasts and gives companies the ability to leverage the full portfolios of more than 100 podcast shows.