After completing a strategic pivot and rebranding as Pronoun last month, the self-publishing platform formerly known as Vook pulls in $3.5 million in new funding from Avalon Ventures.
Drawing on the assets of the short-form ebook publisher Byliner and the data analytics service Booklr, two properties Vook acquired prior to rebranding, Pronoun offers a free publishing platform that it says “uses technology and data to empower authors to create, distribute, and market their books while controlling all intellectual property rights and keeping 100 percent of earnings.”
Pronoun’s announcement of the new funding is short on details, but the company mentions developing its technological and analytical capabilities as one area of focus.
It remains to be seen how and whether Pronoun will stand out in a crowded field of self-publishing solutions offering free or low-cost services to authors. But it seems clear the start-up is hoping to tap into the widespread dissatisfaction many authors feel with the traditional publishing model. Addressing that issue separately, the Authors Guild today launches its first look at the “especially egregious contract terms” the organization will be picking apart in a new initiative to help authors better understand and negoagreements with publishers in the digital age.
Pronoun also appoints new leaders to its Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, including former Amazon executive Stefan Pepe, to serve on the latter.
Pronoun Raises $3.5M from Avalon Ventures to Empower Authors
New York City – Pronoun, the digital book publishing platform for authors, announced today a $3.5 million investment from Avalon Ventures. This venture capital financing closely follows the announcement of Pronoun’s new book publishing platform, which uses technology and data to empower authors to create, distribute, and market their books while controlling all intellectual property rights and keeping 100 percent of earnings.
With this financing, Pronoun is further developing its technology and data analytics, creating a viable alternative to the exclusions and restrictions of traditional publishing as well as to the complexity, limitations, and high costs of self-publishing for authors.
“At Pronoun our mission is to put the author at the core of everything we create,” said Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer of Pronoun. “This funding allows us to continue building a team of people who sincerely value authors and their books, and to deepen our commitment to providing authors with free and meaningful tools, resources, and capabilities.”
Major media companies, brands, and bestselling authors, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Jon Krakauer, Jodi Picoult, and Nick Hornby, have published more than 7,000 titles on Pronoun’s digital book creation and distribution platform. Pronoun’s proprietary data and analytics engine, which tracks performance, customer behavior, and pricing statistics on more than 5 million books each day, helps authors find and reach their audience for the lifetime of their books.
Pronoun joins Avalon Ventures’ successful investment portfolio in digital media, which includes Zynga, Simulmedia, Tapad, and Bookbub. Avalon Ventures partners Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann join Pronoun’s Board of Directors in conjunction with leading this investment.
“Book publishing remains a multibillion dollar industry and an important part of our media culture, but its infrastructure and business model is trapped in an analog world. We believe there’s a massive opportunity to rethink how publishing works and operates,” said Rich Levandov, Partner, Avalon Ventures. “As an investor, I look for companies and teams that are not only willing to be first movers, but that stand up for, and empower, creators. We invested in Pronoun because, like us, this team believes the future of publishing will be driven by technology, data, and a model that puts authors first.”
In addition to Rich Levandov and Brady Bohrmann, Elisabeth DeMarse, Chairman and CEO of TheStreet, joins Pronoun’s Board of Directors. DeMarse also sits on the board of AppNexus, and brings with her more than two decades of operational experience in traditional and digital media. Pronoun also welcomes Amazon veteran Stefan Pepe to its Board of Advisors. Pepe formerly served as Director of Amazon’s North American books division, and held executive roles at Ideeli, Gilt, and Zynga. He is also a board director at Domino Media Group.
“I spent a decade at Amazon as digital technology transformed the publishing landscape,” said Pepe. “I am excited for a new phase of innovation, and Pronoun’s emphasis on technology and data, paired with the team’s unparalleled focus on the author, uniquely positions the company to create a better model for book publishing.”
Pronoun is a digital publishing platform that empowers every author to create and distribute beautiful digital books, own and control their work and their rights, and receive 100% of their earnings – all for free. Pronoun is based in New York City. It is backed by several leading venture capital firms, including Avalon Ventures, Floodgate, Tribeca Venture Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective, Felicis Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and SV Angel.
Learn more at: www.pronoun.com
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures is a venture capital firm that has founded and/or funded more than 100 information technology and life sciences companies. The firm is passionate about backing talented entrepreneurs seeking to build market-leading companies. Throughout the firm’s 30 year tenure, Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early-stage companies. All Avalon partners are seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in company formation, operations and value creation in the life science and tech sectors. Avalon’s current fund of $200 million, launched in 2012, continues the firm’s tradition of pursuing disruptive ideas in ever changing markets.