Back at TechStars Boston Demo Day I recall there being pretty broad agreement that Libboo, the online publishing platform, had the best presentation. Kicked off by a beat poet, the pitch conveyed a real interest in and commitment to authors, the primary customers the platform is meant to serve.
Well, today, Libboo announced $1 million in funding led by the state of Massachusetts’ venture arm, MassVentures (formerly MTDC), joined by high-profile angels including Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot), Bill Warner (Wildfire, Avid), and Don McLagan (Compete).
Libboo has been around since 2007, originally conceived as a crowdsourcing platform for writers. But the company, a MassChallenge finalist last year, switched gears in 2012 to helping authors get discovered by connecting them with what the company refers to as “buzzers,” the fans and readers who can evangelize their work. That is, in my view, a great space to be playing in, as lots of talented authors have no idea how to get their material read online.
From the release:
Libboo CEO Chris Howard says it was a “personal challenge” to find investors who, like him, were after making an impact in the publishing world. The main pain point for authors that Libboo aims to solve is that talent gets lost in crowded spaces. Libboo wants to create a place for talented authors to get discovered and rewarded for their talent. It was important to Howard that Libboo’s investors be passionate and visionary angels and VCs looking to be a part of an industry shift.
I’ve written in depth about the state’s venture funding efforts, and this funding reflects the importance of MassVentures’ requirement that private capital be involved in a deal. If you’re going to have taxpayer dollars going to startups, it’s nice to know it’s one that Shah, Warner, and McLagan think shows promise.
Unrelated: It’s been a nice week for Boston TechStars, between this funding and docTrackr’s announcement yesterday. Anyway, as a writer I’ll be watching this one closely.