A database of publishing startups shows that the average launch is valued at $3.6 million. The same database also shows how broadly investors are thinking about what constitutes “publishing.” Particularly in areas like service and commerce, new publishing competitors are emerging from this current crop of startups.
Angel.co tracks investments in a variety of sectors, including publishing. The parent group is “media”; siblings include comics, content, digital media, film and news. Publishing has a sole child: “writers”.
A publishing colleague, Kat Meyer, connected me to the site. Angel.co tracks startups based on when they first appeared, the number of followers for each startup and what it calls “signal” – a measure of investor interest.
Even a limited review of the listed companies shows how much our sense of “publishing” has changed. Looking at the 19 companies added this month, the descriptions included:
- Publishing (4)
- Social entrepreneurship
- Writers (“A canvas for your company”)
- Social technology (“Always share the right content at the right time”)
- eBooks (Instaread: “Short summaries of books”)
- Beauty (“The best beauty products from around the globe”)
- Journalism (“Your photos, everywhere”)
- Social (“Games. Apps. Stories.”)
- Comics (“A social collaborative workspace for writers and readers”)
- “Royalty free illustration stock curated by professional illustrators”
- Content discovery (“Mobile-first publisher tools”)
- Artists globally (“Everyone’s art advisor”)
- Digital Publishing
- Content (“Creating content made quick and easy”)
This short list illustrates two things about content-driven businesses: a growing focus on content as a service; and an increasingly explicit coupling of content and commerce.
Even the startups that identify themselves as “publishing” could be considered commerce. Their descriptions include “Innovative footwear and philanthropy” and “Discover Real Beauty World Just 1 Click Through”.
Traditional publishing companies have noticed the growing importance of commerce and service, as well. Fashion marketplace Keaton Row disclosed that Time Inc. was the lead investor in its series A capital raise. A statement from Evelyn Webster, a Time Inc. EVP, noted:
“Keaton Row’s peer-to-peer social commerce model matches our sensibility and will open up an arrary of e-commerce opportunities. We are excited to explore how our premium content can enhance the Keaton Row Marketplace and help fuel the growth of its business.”
As the investments illustrate, our sense of publishing has broadened. Increasingly, publishing will embrace service and commerce as it competes against an expanding list of established and new companies.