The visual publishing house Graphicly, which makes it easy to distribute graphically rich content across a variety of platforms, has raised $1.3 million from previous investors led by Mercury Fund and Dundee VC. The company has also set aside around $300k for outside investors due to there being “so much interest.”
This is the second round of bridge funding that Graphicly has raised this year. It raised $1 million in January in order to make its way to a Series B and profitability by the end of 2013. This round means that the company has now raised around $7.3 million in total. I asked Baldwin why the second funding round and he said that they expected the growth in subscribed publishers to be “more linear.” Now they’re raising more money to sustain that growth and pull the string on other efforts like an embeddable YouTube-like widget that displays book trailers, provides a conduit for publishers to reach out to readers regardless of platform and allow them to share that info. About 10 percent of its publishers are using it and it’s seeing more than 1 million page views a month all with little attention given it in a year, and the company appears to have big plans for it.
Baldwin seems especially bullish about the widget, which he says shows a “distinct desire for publishers to connect directly to consumers.”
“Over the past three years or so, I have been CEO of Graphicly,” says Baldwin. “Until a few months ago when I walked into our Board meeting and informed the board that it was time for me to step down. It was time for me to remove the ‘CEO’ part of ‘player-CEO.’”
Baldwin says that it was the right thing to do for the company and for himself. “I was our biggest roadblock. The lack of production and delivery wasn’t because our engineering team wasn’t focused properly or our sales guys weren’t selling, but because I became an ‘arbitrary decision maker and product roadblock.’ So I stepped down. But not out. I just stepped from the sideline onto the field.”
Stepping in as CEO is Fox, who Baldwin says is a serial entrepreneur with three exits and who is focused on scaling the company. And, says Baldwin, he appears to be making the team happy. Fox has been acting as CEO of Graphicly for around three months. Previously, Fox was in sales at a string of big Internet companies like USRobotics and content network Akamai. He then founded Agistics, acquired in 2007 by Visage Mobile, served on the board of Bharosa Inc., which was acquired by Oracle and founded tequila company Artá Tequila.
“When Micah approached me about becoming CEO of Graphicly,” says Fox, “I was excited about the opportunity to provide software to an industry that was traditionally very old school, and really make a difference. eBooks are exploding, and while that is certainly our core business, I share Micah’s belief that the elimination of paper, the creation of simplified distribution and a deeper connection to the consumer will drastically accelerate creativity.”
Baldwin says that the company is on pace to double revenue year-over-year (revenue that he tells me is in the millions) and that it’s doubled the number of publishers that it serves in under 6 months. Graphicly says that it has served over 10,000 publishers, including Scholastic, Warner Brothers, University of Texas Press, Marvel, Random House, Peanuts and Dark Horse. Graphicly started out with a focus on comic books but has expanded outwards to all kinds of visual publications. You can read more about the beginnings of Graphicly here on TechCrunch, including an extensive interview with Baldwin.
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