The company actually disclosed the funding last week when announcing a partnership to produce stories about Marvel characters, but it’s sharing more details about the round — namely, the fact that it was led by Boat Rocker Media, with participation from Forerunner Ventures, 2929 Entertainment co-founder Todd Wagner and Japanese business intelligence and media firm Uzabase.
“We carefully chose trusted partners for this round of investment,” said co-founder and CEO Molly Barton in a statement. “They see the big opportunity that we do to retool reading for the smartphone age, to take the best elements of traditional book publishing and innovate with influences from the audio, podcast, gaming and TV industries.”
Serial Box publishes stories in text and audio format, broken up into weekly episodes. The first episode of each story is free — then if you’re hooked, you can pay $1.99 for additional episodes or sign up for a season pass.
The idea of making readers and listeners wait for the next chapter of the story may seem strange. Hasn’t Netflix trained us to want to binge the full season, as soon as possible? Maybe, but anyone who has watched “Game of Thrones” week-to-week knows that there’s still immense pleasure in waiting for smaller chunks of the larger story.
Behind the scenes, the company is borrowing from the TV production model, with a showrunner leading each writing time creating the stories. Serial Box writers include popular YA/science fiction/fantasy authors Gwenda Bond, Yoon Ha Lee, Max Gladstone and Becky Chambers. And, as mentioned, the company will also be publishing stories based on Marvel characters, starting with Thor.
The company says it will launch its Android app next week, with plans for more product upgrades and content partnerships in the coming months.