Once-hyped PodTech sold at a bargain

Its woes were hardly private, so it's not like anyone didn't see this coming: The podcast start-up has been acquired, with reports placing the price at around $500,000.

PodTech, a video podcast network that had taken over $7 million in venture funding, has been sold--and the price may have been a downright embarrassing $500,000.

The news was reported this week by Eric Eldon at VentureBeat, but Valleywag's Jackson West was floating the rumor with less detail last week. And Fake Steve Jobs jumped the gun a little bit by declaring the company dead last October.

The buyer is the Los Angeles-based ViewPartner, a "communications technology company" that seems to only produce Google results about the fact that it bought PodTech. And while no financial specifics were named in the release, VentureBeat reported that the price was around $500,000. Ouch.

PodTech's woes had been very public as high-profile employees started leaving: marketer Jeremiah Owyang, who became an analyst at Forrester; blogger Robert Scoble, essentially the face of the company; and even CEO John Furrier. It was reportedly out of money, despite having raised a $5.5 million venture round and then another $2 million from U.S. Ventures and Venrock.

The rough economy is making it a shaky ride for many start-ups, but PodTech may have suffered from additional problems: the niche of "podcasting" didn't play out the way many expected it to, instead blending into Web video and audio content alongside far more traditional programming. While a few podcasters have become stars, the "top podcast" charts at the iTunes store look a whole lot more like big media: NPR, Comedy Central, and um, the Jonas Brothers.

Not quite up PodTech's alley.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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