[Berlin] Seedcamp Berlin winner PaperC has secured its first round of funding. Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS), a state run venture fund by the German state of Saxony, has invested a six digit Euro sum with the option to also take part in a second round in 18 months. PaperC will use the funding to invest in its platform and to scale up marketing. They are also backed by business angels like entrepreneurship professor Günter Faltin and Christophe Maire, founder of Gate5 (now Nokia Maps), and now Saxony’s venture fund.
PaperC is a platform where users can read academic books in full text, free of charge. If users purchase a page for a nominal fee of €0.10, the text can also be downloaded and printed, or worked on online. Furthermore, PaperC retails print books via the publisher’s online shop. “Looks useful for scientific/academic papers. Could well do with partnering with someone like Mendeley or Academia”, was Mike Butcher’s take after their five minute pitch at the TechCrunch Berlin event in June, 2009.
Investment director Friedemann Stier of CFH Beteiligungsgesellschaft, which manages the fund, sees the investment as a signal to book publishers that PaperC is a reliable option to market their content over the internet. Scientific book publishers like Walter de Gruyter or Oxford University Press offer thousand of books on PaperC and Stier assumes that much more publishers will now follow their trail.
The 22 year old chief developer, Lukas Rieder, says they want to become world market leader and “change the publishers’ value creation chain along the way” in an interview. Although that sounds pretty ambitious, these are not necessarily empty words.
PaperC could be a real gamechanger: Students don’t depend on their library opening hours and scientific books publishers make more money via PaperC than what they get from copyright collection societies for photocopies.