By Jane Friedman
In May 2010, Open Road published its first ebook from its first author, William Styron. Today, we publish and copublish just over four thousand ebooks from more than five hundred authors.
In just three short years, we have launched our marketing platform and grown our catalog. We began as an epublisher of literary fiction from authors such as Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, Iris Murdoch, Michael Chabon, and James Jones. From that strong foundation, we have expanded to verticals and genres and are now the digital home of a number of titles from a wide variety of writers including Pearl S. Buck, Dorothy L. Sayers, Virginia Hamilton, John Jakes, and Octavia E. Butler. We have also formed partnerships with independent publishers, among them Philosophical Library, MysteriousPress.com, and Albert Whitman & Company, to bring their books into the digital world.
As we have grown, our mission has remained the same: to give authors the marketing support they both need and deserve. At its heart, Open Road is a marketing company committed to using the latest technological resources to connect our authors with readers.
While we feel like we have hit our stride, as we started to look toward the future, we realized there is still much to be done—with the goal in mind of helping authors reach more readers than ever before. We want Open Road to be the premier digital publishing and marketing company for many years to come, and we have many new ideas that we want to put into practice.
To this end, Chief Operating Officer Chris Davis and Chief Marketing Officer Rachel Chou spearheaded a search for a partner to help take us to the next level, and they met with Mike DiPiano and his team from NewSpring Capital. Mike and NewSpring specialize in providing growth and expansion capital, and we are excited to announce that NewSpring Growth Capital III, the firm’s dedicated technology and business services fund, is leading our Series C investment round. Our extremely supportive existing investors—Kohlberg Ventures, Azure Capital, and Golden Seeds—have also contributed to the financing, reinforcing their confidence in Open Road.
Looking to the future, we plan to use this capital to scale our business in four specific areas:
*Technology: continue to enhance the technology platform that drives our marketing efforts.
*Expansion: create businesses compatible to the Open Road mission (like Open Road Distribution) for additional revenue streams.
*Global: expand our International Publishing Partners Translation Program, which recently launched with eight partners including Mondadori, Barcelona eBooks, and A.W. Bruna, and increase merchandising and marketing of our English language titles abroad.
*Acquisitions: invest in appropriate content and technology companies.
Below, is a release from NewSpring Capital with more info on their investment.
We are excited to have NewSpring Capital join us on the Open Road and look forward to much success.
NewSpring Capital Leads Equity Investment in Pioneering Digital Publisher
Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
RADNOR, PA – August 19, 2013 – NewSpring Capital, a family of private equity funds providing growth and expansion capital, announced today that NewSpring Growth Capital III, the firm’s dedicated technology and business services growth equity fund, led an $11.0 million Series C equity financing in Open Road Integrated Media, Inc. (“Open Road”) with an $8.0 million investment. Existing investors—Kohlberg Ventures, Azure Capital, and Golden Seeds—joined NewSpring in the financing.
Open Road, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, published its first ebook in May 2010. Three short years later, the company publishes and markets just over four thousand ebooks from more than five hundred authors. Open Road’s growing backlist catalog includes literary fiction from authors such as Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, Iris Murdoch, Michael Chabon, and James Jones, as well as writers across a wide variety of verticals and genres, including Pearl S. Buck, Dorothy L. Sayers, Virginia Hamilton, John Jakes, and Octavia E. Butler. The company also works with independent publishers to digitally publish and market their ebooks, both backlist and frontlist titles. In addition, Open Road’s E-riginals publishes a selection of original works. Open Road continuously markets its authors through a proprietary online marketing platform.
“As we continue to build Open Road into the premier digital publishing and marketing company, we welcome NewSpring Capital with all its experience in the digital space,” said Jane Friedman, Open Road’s cofounder and chief executive officer. “With their support and with the continued backing of existing investors Kohlberg Ventures, Azure Capital, and Golden Seeds, Open Road is the company that is looking to the future. It will become the model for the twenty-first century publishing and digital media company.”
Mike DiPiano, managing general partner of NewSpring, who now joins Open Road’s board of directors, said, “There is huge disruption in the publishing industry as business models are rapidly evolving and ebooks are becoming a greater share of overall trade book sales. Open Road, as a digital publisher of ebooks with a focus on the vast number of backlist titles, is perfectly poised to deliver value to its authors, as its marketing approach uniquely focuses on authors as brands and systematically creates authentic connections between the authors and the reader. Jane and her talented team have developed a proven, scalable publishing and marketing platform and we are excited to join the company in its future trailblazing in the industry.”