Total investment (goal): €550,000
ZAPO is a well-known podcast platform and trendsetting production house of entertainment content in Slovakia. With its podcasts, it has managed to find and fulfill a market gap in podcasting, which before ZAPO's arrival was primarily dominated by publishing houses’ news podcasts. ZAPO has been gradually expanding its share of the market, and now represents the fastest growing podcast platform in Slovakia. ZAPO’s podcasts garner more than 2 million listeners monthly and over the almost four years of existence have reached a total of 47 million listeners.
A key aspect of success is rooted in the original and engaging content. This potential is also recognized by the Swedish audio giant Spotify, which has invested more than $1 billion in podcasting. ZAPO has enough content to produce for the next couple of years. By combining high quality dramaturgy and production, the Slovakian company meets all the expectations of becoming a leading company for podcast entertainment. For ZAPO the most limiting factors are a deficit of human capital, and an insufficient amount of studios and recording equipment. To accelerate its development and become a "Netflix of the podcast world", ZAPO needs growth investment of the type you can now exclusively provide via our platform.
According to recent research, ZAPO is a "top-of-mind" podcast production company in the entertainment sector in Slovakia and aims to be a bold competitor also on the Czech market.
Where lies the potential for investors? Mainly in this continuously growing market (estimated 30%+ growth by the year 2030). Equally important are increasing podcast advertisement spending and increasing listener rates that in comparison to Western European countries are still low in Slovakia and Czechia – while 47% in Sweden and 31% in the UK report listening to podcasts, the rates are still at 11% in Czechia and 10% in Slovakia. Yet the Slovak and Czech public’s interest in podcasting is significantly growing year after year. Spotify sees a $20-billion opportunity in the future of podcasting, and ZAPO wants to exploit this opportunity.
Long-term know-how and high-quality recording equipment and space for production by podcasters and content creators make ZAPO a mature player and a leader in the region. Thus, listeners are guaranteed to receive interesting and fresh content, while advertisers have the opportunity to reach a lucrative target group with noteworthy affinity rates, represented predominantly by young and economically active people (age 18-44) with a high level of customer conversion.
Why invest in ZAPO:
- A senior management team with well-developed know-how and many years of experience
- A project with added value for creators, listeners and advertisers
- A profitable business model with the potential for repeating profits
- A growing global market with increasing spending on digital advertising, including audio ads
About the investment opportunity
ZAPO exploited a gap on the Slovakian podcast market that was hitherto dominated by the podcasts of the news publishing houses. In just four years, the company has grown from a small podcasting startup to the most successful producer and leader in entertainment podcasts in Slovakia. In February 2023, listener rates reached almost 2.3 million.
Today, ZAPO is the fastest growing podcast platform in Slovakia, with 33 podcast shows in its portfolio. Another more than 20 podcasts on the waiting list indicates strong potential for expansion in 2023. One of the most attractive aspects of ZAPO’s podcast platform is its innate sense of being able to pick the right talent – creators who are able to produce shows on the platform. On top of that, the whole team has decades of experience with sound production, possessing a lot of know-how in high-quality podcast creation.
Growing podcast statistics like listener rates and increasing popularity unleash a new opportunity for content monetization, mainly through online advertisement or a planned a subscription model. ZAPO's added value is oriented on the three primary demographic sectors: creators, listeners and advertisers.
Creators get a full-service package from ZAPO to record and publish their podcasts, from the recording studios’ dramaturgy, sound editing and marketing.
Listeners receive access from ZAPO to unique new talent with exclusive topics that aim to intrigue, entertain, educate and motivate the listeners to return to the platform.
Advertisers have the opportunity through ZAPO to reach a specific target group of customers among the listeners. Those are usually consumers aged 18-44. Advertisements have a return rate of 82%. ZAPO continuously works with big brands like KIA, Fortuna, Opavia, Renault, Samsung, Slovenská sporiteľna and Martinus.
The reason why ZAPO is looking for external financing is primarily for growth and expansion. The company is planning to expand to the Czech market in 2023 (now making up 10% of listeners) and then to Germany the following year. ZAPO is also planning to grow its podcast portfolio. Currently, more than 20 podcasts are waiting to be published. New recording studios should help increase the number of production projects.
The goal is to become a podcast love brand in the Czech and Slovak markets with 500,000 unique listeners every month by the year 2025. In the same year, the company is also planning to introduce a subscription model that would allow users to listen to podcasts without advertisements. The aim is to have a minimum of 10% of the listeners pay for the subscription.
ZAPO was founded by Pavol Krško, Martin Fenčák, and Milan Lieskovský.
Martin Fenčák, Head of Content, former Head of Content at Radio Express, the leading radio broadcaster in Slovakia. He is also known as a successful chief moderator and producer.
Pavol Krško, Head of Sound has more than 15 years of experience as Head of Sound and Design at Radio Express and is widely known as a sound master, music editor, technician, DJ and script editor.
Milan Lieskovský, Head of Studios has worked for 12 years as a producer at FUN radio (No.2 market player) and has two years of experience as Head of Sound Image at Europe 2 radio. He also has his own recording and production studio, and the wider public know him as a famous DJ as well.
The rest of the team comprises Hana Koblišková, Head of Sales, and Ján Cifra, an external advisor and well-known CEO.