Startup of the week: Papertrell

Startup of the week: Papertrell

It may be based in Bangalore, but this direct to consumer publishing platform is already creating close relationships with big publishers in London and New York.

The pitch

Papertrell is a publishing platform that helps publishers and authors to create, package and sell digital content directly to consumers for a seamless branded experience. "Create amazing content, publish to any device, get discovered and measure how it’s used."

Who's the team behind it?

Papertrell is an initiative of Bangalore-based Pvt. Ltd., an IT services firm focusing on mobile, social media and ecommerce product development founded by Arun Benty (pictured left), Rohit Regonayak and Anil Garg.

Serial entrepreneur Benty is also co-founder of ZoomIn, India’s #1 online photo printing and gifting company, and PlaySocial, where he co-created the patent-pending multiplayer word game, Grabbler. 

What's the gap in the market?

"While working with publishers on several digital intiatives, we saw the growing importance of building a direct-to-consumer channel as the e-book market grew," Benty says. "While there were tons of options to sell ebooks online, engaging and sustaining an audience was a massive challenge. You needed a spcialised team, technical expertise and tons of capital to implment a viable direct-to-consumer strategy. We saw the opportunity here to build a comprehensive audience engagement platform which made it super easy to setup and implement with no tech overheads or training required."

Success so far

Papertrell's technology is already powering direct-to-consumer initiatives for leading publishers including Hachette, PRH and HarperCollins. Currently they are reaching over 1.7 million readers and recording over 16 million sessions, resulting in an impressive bank of data and analytics.

Recent success stories include Cameleon: A Coloring Book for Adults, an interactive app and storefront aimed at helping Octopus Publishing Group build a core audience for their colouring titles; Bookends, an ebook discovery platform; and the Ella's Kitchen First Foods digital baby recipe book.

Benty adds: "We recently partnered with HummingBird Digital Media in the US to democratize ebook retailing by giving anyone the ability to sell ebooks and audiobooks from a catalog of over 0.5 million titles from 3000+ publishers. Currently this initiative is live in the US and we’re actively working on exapanding the program to the UK and the rest of the world."

Biggest challenges?

Location, location, location. "Being based in Bangalore does challege our sales team," Benty admits. "But being the tech capital of India, we’ve got access to some of the best talent, and we’re planning on opening an office in London and New York soon."

Ultimate ambition?

The Papertrell team wants to pioneer a new habit of cross-media D2C content. "We believe that as digital publishing evolves, there will be more and more disintermediation between content creators and consumers. We want to be the platform that powers this next generation of publishing."

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

"It’s hard work for startups in the publishing domain with very little support from VCs, so be ready for the long haul and strive to be profitable as early as possible."