Children's Book App Publisher Receives $2 Million Investment
E-books seem to be increasingly the investment of choice among venture capital firms. Just more than two months ago, digital content company Open Road Integrated Media (founded by former HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman) announced its receipt of $4 million in Series A financing (after an initial investment of $3 million in startup capital) by Kohlberg Ventures. This week, Zuuka Group's publishing label iStoryTime, creator of interactive children's book apps, has been given a $2 million Series A Investment by venture capital firm CFP & Founders Investments.
The investment will allow for the expansion of iStoryTime's domestic and international library of 100 books in 80 countries, as well as the distribution of its current iOS content to additional mobile platforms.
Founded in 2009, iStoryTime licenses content from rights holders, partners with publishers, does white label work and creates original content. Its narrated and illustrated e-book apps include "The Smurfs" (the current No. 1 children's book in the Apple App Store), bestsellers Kung Fu Panda 2 storybook, "Transformers Dark Side of the Moon" and the "Mix & Match" app, as well as "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon." The company, which has more than 100 e-book apps, has digital licensing partnerships with Cartoon Network, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Reader's Digest Children's Books, and The Jim Henson Co. It has received a PTPA Media's Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and the Children's Technology Review's Editor's Choice Award.
iStoryTime's e-book apps, which are designed for ages 2 and older, are available for Apple's iPad, iPhone and iTouch, as well as the Android and the HP TouchPad. (Pages can be turned automatically or manually depending on the age and preference of the user.)
The investment will accelerate further company expansion through new partnerships and expanded mobile platforms.
"As parents, we're very excited to continue expanding our goal of providing children quality, fun and educational digital entertainment," said Graham Farrar, co-founder of Zuuka Group. "We've established ourselves as a major contender in the children's digital space, and our new partnership with CFP & Founders Investments positions us very well to continue our growth and explore more partnership opportunities."
The investment finalizes the merger between Santa Barbara, Calif.-based FrogDogMedia and Germany's Zuuka GmbH, which have combined under the Zuuka Group name and will continue to publish under the company's iStoryTime label.
"The exciting growth of the mobile marketplace provides excellent opportunity within the children's content industry," said Jens Munk, managing director at CFP& Founders Investments. "iStoryTime makes an excellent addition to our portfolio with its proven track record and is well positioned to take advantage of this mobile entertainment revolution."