London-based Unbound has been backed by a consortium of investors so that it can develop its technology team and expand the capabilities of its website.
European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit has been joined by Cambridge Angels and seed investor Forward Investment Partners in the £1.2 million deal.
The Unbound crowdfunding platform, set up by three authors in 2011, allows writers to pitch their books online. Financial backing is then pledged in exchange for rewards – of which nearly £1 million has been raised.
As well as investing in its team and website, Unbound has outlined plans to create new platforms for engaging with ‘key stakeholders’ in the publishing industry such as agents, publishers and booksellers.
Dan Kieran, one part of the three-man team who set up Unbound and author of Crap Towns and The Idle Traveller, says, ‘Unbound was founded on a very simple ethos: to bring authors and readers together and to give them all a better, more engaged experience of the publishing process.
‘With this funding in place, we are ready to enter the second phase of our plans.’
According to Unbound, the new funding will aid with its biggest project so far – a booked called Letters of Note by Shaun Usher, which has raised £125,000 in advanced pledges.
The rest of the entrepreneurial team at Unbound is publisher, writer and head of research for BBC’s Qi John Mitchinson and Justin Pollard, a historian, television producer and author.
David Cummings, venture partner at DFJ Esprit, comments, ‘What stands out about Unbound is that fans support the publication of books they want to own.
‘It is one of the purest forms of crowdfunding that has emerged. And the uptake amongst high profile authors demonstrates the appeal of the model.’
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The backing of Unbound is not the first time that DFJ Esprit has added a crowdfunding business to its portfolio. In May 2012 it joined Digital Prophets and angel investors in a £1.3 million funding round for equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
Return investor Forward Investment Partners first became involved with Unbound when it led a small seed funding round at foundation.
Forward Investment Partners director Nic Brisbourne adds, ‘Since Forward’s first investment, the Unbound team has demonstrated that they can use their deep understanding of authors and the demands put upon them by modern publishing to create a unique business that addresses the needs of both writers and publishers.’