Personalised children’s book start-up Wonderbly has scooped $8.5m (£6m) in funding from European publisher Ravensburger days after changing its name.
Wonderbly, formerly known as Lost My Name, has secured cash in a series B funding round to “accelerate new product development and international growth” two years after winning $9m in the first round, led by Google Ventures. Google will remain a lead investor along with Project A, Greycroft, The Chernin Group & Allen & Co, all of whom participated previously. Ravensburger, a publisher of games, puzzles and children’s books is a new investor in the scheme and Wonderbly also also secured a venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank.
The UK-based start up which was formed in 2012, has also announced its first book with the Roald Dahl Estate will be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The company is billed as a “disruptive force in the word of publishing” which “lives at the intersection of storytelling, engineering, digital and print”. On Friday (28th July) it announced it had chosen to rebrand from Lost My Name to "Wonderbly" - an amalgamation of "wonderful" and "impossibly" - reflecting its purpose to "help [customers] make impossibly personalised books that bring wonder into children’s lives".
The rebrand and new investment round marks both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future; to keep pushing the boundaries of personalised and personal publishing with own content and selected partners and to inspire boundless self-belief in every child through imaginative, personal storytelling.
In April this year, they announced their first Joint-IP project with the Roald Dahl Estate, to create a new story ready to be personalised based on one of the late, great author’s worlds and characters. The new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will offer a “marvellous world in very unique, never-seen-before ways”.
The publisher’s c.e.o, Asi Sharabi, said: “We’re building new kind of personal media and publishing company that empowers customers to create stories and products that bring them closer to the people they love. We have a growing body of evidence for the positive impact of our products on children’s imagination and self esteem and we’re incredibly excited to keep creating personalised stories that inspire, nurture and empower children the world over."
He added: "We’re particularly thrilled to bring Ravensburger on board. Our investment mantra has always been added value over capital and Ravensburger brings with them over 100 years of operational experience shipping quality products that bring children and adults closer together.”
Clemens Maier, c.e.o of the Ravensburger group, said: “We have been following the development of Wonderbly for some time and are delighted to come on board as a strategic investor as part of our new corporate investment initiative. Wonderbly has managed to build a truly international, personalized children's book business and we are excited to support them in their next phase of growth.”
In 2015, Wonderbly announced plans to grow its business globally after securing $9m in the first round of funding from Google Ventures and the following year, the funding round was extended to enable €4m from Berlin-based investor Project A Ventures.
However a month afterwards, in July 2016, it revealed it had made "an efficiency and growth-focused decision" to make nine people redundant to improve performance and product investment.