Ingram Invests in Social Ebook Retail Start-up Librify

ICG Ventures, the investment arm of content distributor Ingram Content Group, has made an investment in Librify, a New York-based social ebook retail start-up. The financial terms of the seed funding round were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, Librify is aimed at the book club market. Librify co-founder and CEO Joanna Stone describes the start-up as “Goodreads plus a book-of-the-month retail platform.”

Stone will be using the money to continue to develop the Librify product, which hasn’t yet been launched, and to increase the size of its headcount, which sits at 20 right now, including an offshore team in India. The company plans on launching to the public this year.

“We’re looking to do a controlled soft launch and then a much more major launch in the spring,” Stone told Digital Book World. “Having Ingram as an equity partner allows them to better serve the needs of publishers which allows us to better serve the needs of readers.”

As part of the deal, Ingram CEO John Ingram will be joining Librify’s advisory board which includes Brian Napack, senior advisor at Providence Equity, Dominique Raccah, CEO of Naperville, Ill.-based publisher Sourcebooks, Robin Warner, managing director at media investment bank DeSilva+Phillips and Andrew S. Rosen, chairman and CEO of Kaplan.

“We are pleased to invest in Librify, a promising new start up,” said David Roland, chief venture capital officer for Ingram Content Group, in a statement. “Our investment is part of Ingram’s ongoing commitment to support new channels that reach consumers with content.”

The funding announcement was made at Digital Book World 2014 in New York. Coincidentally, Stone met Roland for the first time in person at last year’s Digital Book World conference.

Before founding Librify, Stone spent time in media and investment banking, holding senior-level positions at Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Lexis Nexis and DeSilva+Phillips.

“Having worked in many areas of the digital media industry, including as an investment banker, I’m very familiar with how a well-structured deal can bring much more value than just the financial commitment alone,” said Stone, adding, “If we’re successful in two years, it’s because publishers say that we provide something that is essential in the spectrum their ability to reach consumers.”

According to a statement from the company, Librify has already secured content partnerships with major publishers. Stone declined to share which ones.