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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

HarperCollins former CEO sets sight on an eFuture

Former HarperCollins CEO, Jane Friedman just announced an $8 millon in Series B equity financing for her eBook business Open Road Media.

Open Road was launched in 2009 and republishes well-known older titles in ebook format and aggressively markets their product using social media and video.

The timing of the funding could likely not be better: Just last week Amazon announced that it was currently selling more Kindle books than print.

Friedman, who left HarperCollins in 2008, has long been at the forefront of publishing; she is credited with creating the author publicity tour and founded the first audio books division during her time at Random House.

Azure Capital Leads Round Which Also Includes Golden Seeds
and Current Investor Kohlberg Ventures
(New York, NY May 23rd 2011) Open Road Integrated Media Inc. (www.Open, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, announced today that it has secured $8 million in Series B equity financing. The round was led by Azure Capital and also includes Golden Seeds and current investor Kohlberg Ventures. Open Road will use the financing to expand its growing digital publishing and marketing program. The announcement was made by Jane Friedman, Cofounder and CEO of Open Road.
Mike Kwatinetz, a general partner at Azure Capital, said: “We are very excited about Open Road’s combination of great leadership, business model advantage, momentum with strong authors, agents and distributors and speed in which they launch and market their ebooks. This combination has given the company a step up in what should prove to be a very large market.”
Kathryn Swintek, a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, said: "Open Road's strong performance in the short time since opening its doors caught the attention of a wide swath of Golden Seeds members who seek out high growth, disruptive businesses. Golden Seeds is very pleased to support Jane Friedman and her management team as they continue to build one of the leading digital media companies serving U.S. consumers."
Jim Kohlberg, Founder, Kohlberg Ventures, said: “Kohlberg Ventures has been impressed with Open Road’s continued growth and success and is excited to once again increase our investment. It is wonderful that Open Road has progressed so quickly in becoming a force in the rapidly expanding ebook market. We look forward to having Azure Capital and Golden Seeds as our new partners.”
Friedman said: “Open Road is a digital publishing company built from the ground-up to take advantage of the ebook revolution. While our industry has undergone tremendous changes since we launched a year and a half ago, the best is yet to come. This investment positions us perfectly to continue to connect authors with readers as ebooks become more and more popular. We are excited to welcome Azure Capital and Golden Seeds to the Open Road and remain proud of Jim Kohlberg’s confidence in our vision and performance.”
The Series B equity financing builds upon Open Road’s success digitally publishing and marketing ebooks from legendary authors including James Jones, William Styron and Pat Conroy, leading writers of mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction like Carl Hiaasen and Jack Higgins, non-fiction writers like James Gleick and Rachel Carson, literary authors like Josephine Hart and Scott Spencer and children’s authors like Virginia Hamilton.
Open Road has launched E-stars like Mary Glickman, formed partnerships with independent publishers like Kensington and Thomas Nelson and is developing several book-to-film adaptations, including William Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness and Mary Glickman’s Home in the Morning

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