Lost My Name, the London-based startup that uses tech to create and publish personalised story books for children, has raised $8.5 million in Series B funding. It is also revealing an upcoming tie-in with the Roald Dahl Estate, owners of IP such as Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
The round was led by Ravensburger, a leading European publisher of games, puzzles, and children’s books, so it’s a strategic investment of sorts. Existing investors, Google Ventures, Project A Ventures, Greycroft, The Chernin Group, and Allen & Co, also participated. I understand part of the round is a venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank, too.
In related news, Lost My Name’s name is lost no more. The startup (not so) quietly re-branded last week as “Wonderbly,” a move that is likely part of a bid to move beyond the company’s original title and only ‘hit’ so far, the wonderful “The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name,” which has sold over 2.7 million copies and claims to be the leading picture book in the markets Wonderbly operates.
Co-founder and CEO Asi Sharabi told me during a catch up call last week that the company has created six new products this year, with more to come. And most impressively, Wonderbly has signed a partnership with the Roald Dahl Estate.
The Joint-IP project will see the two organisations work together to “open the gates” of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, presumably via some kind of book infused with clever use of data and personalisation. I, for one, can’t wait.
The project also ties into what Sharabi told me last year when he said the startup was actively seeking to partner with outside creatives and companies, as it opens up the platform. “Technology and business models scale but creativity doesn’t,” he said at the time.
IP as loved as Willy Wonka, on the other hand, is infinitely scalable, so this, along with today’s funding, is a nice win for Wonderbly, a company I’ve always thought needed patient capital rather than bucket loads of move fast, break things-styled VC.
That’s something Sharabi doesn’t dispute either, citing the startup’s investment mantra as “added value over capital,” and pressing home that Ravensburger brings over 100 years of operational experience in the children’s entertainment space.
As we wrapped up our call, I asked him how he managed to successfully pitch the Roald Dahl Estate, and he revealed that they actually reached out to him. The organisation was on the look out for new creative opportunities beyond its recent ventures into Hollywood and the newly-named Wonderbly seemed just the golden ticket.