Kevin Costner Just Made Millions But Not From Movies Or TV

The app Autio, which Kevin Costner co-founded, recently made close to $6 million in funding.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

kevin costner

Kevin Costner became rich and famous for major roles in things like Yellowstone, and he’s not afraid to invest some of his wealth into other business opportunities. Heck, with the right investments, he can make money without having to so much as get up (which is particularly handy if those rumors about him not wanting to be on set for the second half of Yellowstone’s Season 5 for more than a week are true). One such investment is already paying off: TechCrunch reports that Kevin Costner co-founded the location-based audio app Autio and that the app recently raised $5.9 million in funding, with most of that coming from the media giant iHeartMedia.

While Kevin Costner’s investment in Autio isn’t new (he helped kick things off when the app launched back in 2020), the name “Autio” is. Originally, the app went by the name “HearHere,” and it offered users the chance to hear audio stories about certain cities, towns, and landmarks (you know, so you can check out more than the Ghostbusters firehouse when you’re in the area). At the time, the app was marketed more towards travelers who wanted to learn more about the various areas they were traveling through.

Why did Kevin Costner and the other co-founders change the app’s name to Autio, then? As with things like podcasts and audiobooks, the audience for this app eventually wanted to use the app more when they were flying, driving, or walking around rather than just when they were on a road trip or vacation. Accordingly, the company made it so that users can now explore a map of the country in the app and explore audio stories from around the country at their leisure, and they then decided to change the name because “HearHere” implied that users still needed to physically visit a location to hear the audio stories.

Part of what makes those stories so fun is that the narrators are excellent, and Kevin Costner didn’t hesitate to use his Hollywood connections to bring some pretty big names to Autio. Some of the narrators include fellow actors like Phil Jackson and John Lithgow (Costner, of course, also narrates). Big names and good stories are meant to entice users to pay for the service: while users can get free accounts, those accounts are limited to only five stories, but those who pay $36 per year have unlimited access to more than 10,000 stories spanning the entire United States.

kevin costner autio
Credit: Autio

Some potentially bad news for those wanting to try Kevin Costner’s app is that Autio is currently only available on iOS, though it will be out on Android soon after the beta testing is complete. The app already has an impressive 230,000 registered users, and that number may increase significantly once Android users can see what the hype is all about. The app also saw a major increase in users after its recent appearance on Shark Tank, and Costner and his crew hope even more people join after they invest the latest funds into both growing their internal team and increasing the amount of content they have to offer.

The increase in users and funding was already good news for Kevin Costner, but it came with even better news: iHeartMedia is partnering with Autio. Since iHeartMedia has such a built-in audience that spans many different platforms, many of these audio stories are about to become more popular than ever before. Unfortunately for fans of the actor, the story of whether Costner will be in Yellowstone in the future is one that he’s not willing to narrate for us just yet.