Leadstart Publishing, a media-tech publishing house, distributor, and rights agency platform, raises funding from SucSEED Venture Partners, Hyderabad-based angel investment network. This Pre-Series A fund raise round of half a million USD (more than INR 3 Crore) was led by Mumbai Angel Network, alongside SucSEED and JITO Angel Network.
The Mumbai-based firm, founded by Swarup Nanda, will be using the funds to scale operations, develop technology, and focus on customer acquisition.
Recognized as India’s largest book distribution network and named as the ‘fastest growing publishing company’ by The Week magazine, Leadstart has 10 brands and publishes over 200 titles a year, with imprints and products in all major book categories. Several of their authors have won major literary prizes such as the Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, Vodafone Crossword Awards, various State literary awards and the Jnanpith Award, as well as regularly being long listed for other awards, including the Man Asian Literary Prize.
Commenting on the fund raise, Swarup Nanda, CEO & Founder – Leadstart Publishing said, “It was an excellent experience working with SucSEED, which has an investor base of senior techies, accomplished professionals and entrepreneurs. Their process time was the shortest and evaluation of the product the deepest. It was an absolute pleasure working with them. We look forward to deeper engagement with our investors for advisory and mentoring support as well. We shall be using the funds to scale up operations, develop and deploy tech, along with customer acquisitions.”
Speaking on why SucSEED has invested in Leadstart Publishing, Saurabh Sharma, an active investor with SucSEED, said, “Leadstart Publishing is utilizing technology-driven, just-in-time printing, improvements in the content based on reader feedback and a unique approach to DIY for authors to self-publish.”
“They bring in novelty of ideas, uniqueness and a network of smart, passionate team that wants to bring art and literature with improvements in the readers’ hands.”
Vikrant Varshney, Co-founder & Partner, SucSEED, said, “Leadstart Publishing features distinguished authors and writing from across the globe. The number of books published is over 950 from 800+ authors as of May 2019. They are targeting to publish 2,300 books in this fiscal year. We see them playing a big role, considering content is emerging as key for publishing, entertainment and OTT sectors. Leadstart has had initial success and this funding could help them achieve sustainable revenue streams too.”
About Leadstart Publishing
Leadstart Publishing is a company operating in the media-tech space. The reason for their existence is to help individuals make commercially viable creative products and connect them to the world market. They are beginning with books; and in the process of doing so, make available the widest range of products which empower thinking, educate and entertain, in addition generate worldwide employment opportunities in a workplace-free working environment.
Leadstart Publishing enables individuals to create, market, and sell creative products and services globally, thereby bringing literature and art to people. Their integrated platform allows authors to self-publish globally in multiple languages, using technology for creation, providing enhancement and distribution of content to a wider audience such as studios, OTT platforms, or adapting to video formats, by re-imagining content discovery, and bringing reader recognition.
In its new avatar, Leadstart is ready to revolutionise the entire publishing ecosystem, by adding substantial value to all of its key stakeholders, i.e. authors, readers and publishers.
- For authors, it will allow them to understand how their books are being read, for the first time in the world, with the help of supporting data. They can use the data to make amendments towards improving their work.
- For readers, it allows reader recognition and content discovery with a unique method in a fun manner.
- For publishers, it helps them de-risk their high risk business model.
Problem(s) that they are addressing:
- People find publishing their work commercially a cumbersome and expensive process.
- Authors don’t have a way to understand how their content is being read/consumed.
- Readers don’t have a way for content discovery.
- Traditional publishers can’t figure out how to minimize risk on their investments and like the venture capital business, lose money on a large part of their investments.
- Studios and OTT players have a dearth of fresh content from the current sources of their writers, the movies and web series which need to be well researched and need a non-linear narrative.
Solution: Leadstart is an integrated products and services firm, which solves all these problems for all these stakeholders.
About the market Potential in that space
The publishing industry is a $120 bn market worldwide and the content industry is rapidly growing at a staggering pace. The space of original content is something all major consumer-facing tech giants are entering into.
Key investors from earlier rounds
- Sandipan Chatopadhayay (founder, MoneyControl.com, Xelpmoc, ex CTO-JustDial)
- Prasad Panchagnula, India Head of Retail Banking Operations, Offshore Service Centres ANZ Bank
- Manish Bharadwaj, CEO India at IEWC (a 500 bn US firm)
- Sunny Nagpal & Amit Gupta + Pool (Co-founders of HTTPool, the world leaders of Ad Networks, represent LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Viber in most parts of the world outside of USA. The company is being bought over by Sony International)
- Vedant Loyalka, Founder Curae Health (Seasoned Startup investor)
- Yogesh Choudhary, Director Jaipur Rugs (Seasoned Startup investor with over 36 startup investments)
About SucSEED Venture Partners
SucSEED Venture Partners, founded in 2016, is one of the fastest growing angel network, with a combination of CXO level corporate professionals, technology angels, business leaders and serial entrepreneurs, who have come together to fuel the growth of Indian startup system at an early stage, with provision of growth capital, organizing access to market and business mentoring. SucSEED’s Investment Strategy is primarily targeted at growth stage in post revenue startups involved in innovation for mass or use cases with real problem statements using emerging technology.
SucSEED has been investing in fintech, edtech, real estate technology, HR tech and expert network, enterprise SAAS, analytics space primarily, but also open to support in other areas. SucSEED facilitates and raises seed funding through angel investments and provide support towards venture capital to such entities and teams.
SucSEED network comprises of professionals and entrepreneurs who extensively mentor the investee startups. The investors are senior industry leaders with extensive domain knowledge and peer networks, assist in creating a structure to support startups and further enhance the ecosystems. Startups will get to leverage the expertise of individual investors who are part of the initiative and share their expertise in Sales & Marketing, Finance, Systems & Technology, Risk, Legal & Compliance, Human Resources & Training.