Pronoun (Vook) Announces $3.5m Investment of Capital

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Pronoun 2015Last month we reported that digital publishing platform Vook had rebranded and relaunched as Pronoun. Combining the digital technologies of Byliner and Booklr, which it owns, Pronoun describes itself as an ‘author-friendly’ and ‘author-centric’ book publishing platform with a freemium business model for authors. The platform will provide authors with book creation tools and distribution to all major e-book retail channels. I say ‘will’ because the platform is still not yet live for authors to try out.

Today the digital publishing platform announced a $3.5 million financial injection from Avalon Ventures. Like last month’s relaunch press release, this one also makes play of the legacy model of publishing being ‘a multibillion dollar industry and an important part of our media culture, but its infrastructure and business model is trapped in an analog world. We believe there’s a massive opportunity to rethink how publishing works and operates.’

I’m certainly interested to see how Pronoun believes it is ‘creating a viable alternative to the exclusions and restrictions of traditional publishing as well as to the complexity, limitations, and high costs of self-publishing for authors.’ But there are other freemium models of digital publishing platforms inexistence already, and the publishing service industry is pretty competitive, if not cut and thrust. Since the relaunch last month — if you want to call a press release a relaunch of itself — we’ve yet to see the engine room of Pronoun, but we’ve had plenty of glowing mission statements.

This funding allows us to continue building a team of people who sincerely value authors and their books, and to deepen our commitment to providing authors with free and meaningful tools, resources, and capabilities.

— Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer of Pronoun

 

Full Press Release:

Pronoun Raises $3.5M from Avalon Ventures to Empower Authors

New York City – Pronoun, the digital book publishing platform for authors, announced today a $3.5 million investment from Avalon Ventures. This venture capital financing closely follows the announcement of Pronoun’s new book publishing platform, which uses technology and data to empower authors to create, distribute, and market their books while controlling all intellectual property rights and keeping 100 percent of earnings.

With this financing, Pronoun is further developing its technology and data analytics, creating a viable alternative to the exclusions and restrictions of traditional publishing as well as to the complexity, limitations, and high costs of self-publishing for authors.

“At Pronoun our mission is to put the author at the core of everything we create,” said Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer of Pronoun. “This funding allows us to continue building a team of people who sincerely value authors and their books, and to deepen our commitment to providing authors with free and meaningful tools, resources, and capabilities.”

Major media companies, brands, and bestselling authors, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Jon Krakauer, Jodi Picoult, and Nick Hornby, have published more than 7,000 titles on Pronoun’s digital book creation and distribution platform. Pronoun’s proprietary data and analytics engine, which tracks performance, customer behavior, and pricing statistics on more than 5 million books each day, helps authors find and reach their audience for the lifetime of their books.

Pronoun joins Avalon Ventures’ successful investment portfolio in digital media, which includes Zynga, Simulmedia, Tapad, and Bookbub. Avalon Ventures partners Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann join Pronoun’s Board of Directors in conjunction with leading this investment.

“Book publishing remains a multibillion dollar industry and an important part of our media culture, but its infrastructure and business model is trapped in an analog world. We believe there’s a massive opportunity to rethink how publishing works and operates,” said Rich Levandov, Partner, Avalon Ventures. “As an investor, I look for companies and teams that are not only willing to be first movers, but that stand up for, and empower, creators. We invested in Pronoun because, like us, this team believes the future of publishing will be driven by technology, data, and a model that puts authors first.”

In addition to Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann, Elisabeth DeMarse, Chairman and CEO of TheStreet, joins Pronoun’s Board of Directors. DeMarse also sits on the board of AppNexus, and brings with her more than two decades of operational experience in traditional and digital media. Pronoun also welcomes Amazon veteran Stefan Pepe to its Board of Advisors. Pepe formerly served as Director of Amazon’s North American books division, and held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga. He is also a board director at Domino Media Group.

“I spent a decade at Amazon as digital technology transformed the publishing landscape,” said Pepe. “I am excited for a new phase of innovation, and Pronoun’s emphasis on technology and data, paired with the team’s unparalleled focus on the author, uniquely positions the company to create a better model for book publishing.”

About Pronoun

Pronoun is a digital publishing platform that empowers every author to create and distribute beautiful digital books, own and control their work and their rights, and receive 100% of their earnings – all for free. Pronoun is based in New York City. It is backed by several leading venture capital firms, including Avalon Ventures, Floodgate, Tribeca Venture Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective, Felicis Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and SV Angel.

Learn more at: www.pronoun.com

About Avalon Ventures

Avalon Ventures is a venture capital firm that has founded and/or funded more than 100 information technology and life sciences companies. The firm is passionate about backing talented entrepreneurs seeking to build market-leading companies. Throughout the firm’s 30 year tenure, Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early-stage companies. All Avalon partners are seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in company formation, operations and value creation in the life science and tech sectors. Avalon’s current fund of $200 million, launched in 2012, continues the firm’s tradition of pursuing disruptive ideas in ever changing markets.

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