Tech Talk with PodMatch founder Alex Sanfilippo

“Thinking about matching podcast hosts and guests, it’s actually very similar to online dating.”

Tech Talk with PodMatch founder Alex Sanfilippo

What is PodMatch?
The whole idea behind PodMatch was to make an easier way to connect podcast guests and hosts. Hosts have programs with guests being talent or having experience or a story to share. I host a podcast, Creating a Brand, and initially found booking guests was a very manual process. People use LinkedIn or Facebook groups, and there would be a lot of back and forth. Podcasters often say that they can't find their ideal guests. People will be on shows but aren’t always the right fit. I thought there just had to be an easier way. So that's where I got the idea for PodMatch.

You’ve compared PodMatch to dating apps but for podcasts. Can you explain your analogy?
A friend, who was using the dating app Hinge, and I started talking. I’ve been married too long to use a dating app. But in thinking about matching podcast hosts and guests, based on interests and topics, and getting on the same app, it’s actually very similar to online dating. And the first thing that we do is check availability.

Because it's global software, we have people on other sides of the world. When they are available, in my time zone, in Jacksonville, Florida, it may be 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.. So PodMatch is not going to match people who can’t record together.

How does the app work?
There are two registration forms. There's one for podcast hosts, which we validate through Apple. It’s important to make sure we have the right people, that they’re good platforms and active podcasters. We check all sorts of things like that. They fill out their information about their show, and whom they're seeking for guests.

There's a different registration for podcast guests. They’ll create a sheet with their image, short bio, social media links and a longer story about themselves. We see what questions they're ready to answer and topics that they would recommend to the host. We have pretty extensive profiles and use an algorithm of 38 different criteria for matches.

With the two separate registration pieces, the hosts and guest can both see all the information they need to know.

What are some distinguishing features of PodMatch?
The host explains who their audience is. So the guests have an idea of whom they'd be talking to. Another question asks about how the podcast flows. I find that a lot of guests can get caught off guard if they have no idea of how the questions will go. On the flip side, sometimes hosts know the topic they want to talk about but aren't sure what to ask. We’ll ask guests for up to 10 questions that they are ready to answer on the spot. And we ask guests to make a list of recommended topics.

Tell us about your business model and where you’re heading.
We launched in June about a year ago. There’s a basic free subscription that about 90% of the people use. Then we have a professional plan that users have upgraded to, which gives more matches and more visibility. Finally, we have an agency service, which PR firms use to manage multiple clients. We have approximately 12,000 users, including 7,000 hosts and 5,000 guests. We’re on pace to have 25,000 people using the platform by the end of the year.

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