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Jake Fichman
Government Media Advisor | CEO of Goldfish Marketing Agency

Brothers raise $35M to revolutionize podcasting

Riverside co-founders Nadav and Gideon Keyson. Photo by Marco Okhuizen.

I’ve written about my journey from lone soldier to start-up owner here before, and I realize that there are others like me: olim chadashim, i.e. newcomers to Israel, who abandoned the familiar comforts of home and built something completely new here. Israel is known to be the “start-up nation”: the center of the country, specifically Tel Aviv, continues to sprout more and more high tech-related businesses. This thirst for innovation and entrepreneurship is at the heart of Israeli culture: we just do not accept what is. Instead, we want to grow, all the time. At the same time, I think it’s important to highlight the endeavors of olim, non-native Israelis, who had the same thirst for growth but also needed the courage to come here in the first place. This brings me to Gideon and Nadav Keyson, two Dutch Jewish brothers who co-founded Riverside.fm, a revolutionary podcasting software company headquartered in Tel Aviv.

What’s your favorite podcast? Many people can answer that question immediately, but that wasn’t always the case. Podcasts have dramatically increased in popularity over the last few years. In 2018, 26% of Americans twelve or older listened to podcasts monthly, compared to 41% in 2021. Although most of us are thankfully not as strongly in the throes of the pandemic anymore, media professionals, influencers, and laypeople alike continue to join the podcast production’s bandwagon. The problem? Having access to a million-dollar recording studio is only for the 1 percent. Young twenty-something Nadav Keyson, who was famous in the Dutch community for DJing at Jewish student parties, programmed a platform to record podcasts and videos in studio quality from anywhere just using your browser. He made it so that the software delivers perfectly high-quality video and audio, no matter how good (or bad) your internet connection is at the time.

The brothers scheduled the official launch for April 2020–what we now know as the month after the pandemic started. Everyone, even the fortunate ones who were previously sitting in recording studios, were now forced to produce content from home during quarantine. Among their paying customers (pricing plans start at $7.50 a month) are Disney, Marvel, Spotify, The New York Times, Microsoft, NPR, BBC, and Hillary Clinton. Gary Vaynerchuck, chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, recently spoke to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the future of Web3/the Metaverse via… Riverside.fm. They closed its last funding round on April 22, 2021 from a Series A round at 12 million dollars

In an interview with Calcalistech, the key Israeli high-tech news reporting website, Nadav commented: “Our vision is to be for podcasts and video what Wix is for websites, making their creation and editing easy.” It is no surprise to me that he mentioned a fellow Israeli company. What we see in Israel is that the spirit of innovation is contagious–the sky is truly the limit here. As a fellow oleh entrepreneur, I applaud the Keyson brothers. May they only continue to grow from here.

About the Author
Jake Fichman serves as international Media Advisor to the Prime Minister's Office and is the Founder and CEO of Goldfish Marketing Agency in Israel. Originally from the USA, Jake specializes in international communications and strategic messaging.
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