Kraft Group Backs Online Talk-Radio Platform

The Kraft Group in Foxborough, MA—which not only owns the New England Patriots but invests heavily in technology ventures such as the Matchmine recommendation engine and the Patriots’ own media-rich website—is the lead investor in a $4.6 million Series A funding round announced yesterday for New York-based social media site BlogTalkRadio.

BlogTalkRadio’s Web-based software allows users to conduct their own free, live, call-in talk shows. The shows are also automatically archived and published as podcasts. The company says that 3.2 million people listened to its shows in May, and that users launch 400 new shows every day.

“This round of financing further validates BlogTalkRadio as a powerful, new platform,” Alan Levy, CEO and co-founder of BlogTalkRadio, said in a statement. “Given the broad number of opportunities our platform presents to marketers and advertisers, and those who are already using BlogTalkRadio, such as Sun Microsystems, Hachette Book Group, J. Wiley and Sons, Intel and the Department of Defense, we believe this is the right time to strengthen our capital base.”

Former hedge fund manager Scott Sipprelle and other private investor joined the financing round, which the company says it will use to hire sales and marketing staff, strengthen brand awareness, and develop new content.

In a post yesterday, New York Times blogger Brad Stone used BlogTalkRadio’s own platform to interview Levy. “What blogs have done to newspapers and magazines, I think companies like BlogTalkRadio can do to talk radio,” Levy told Stone.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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