Media

Madefire grabs $5.2M to take motion books mainstream

Image Credit: Source: Madefire
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Digital comic book startup Madefire has just closed a new $5.2 million round of funding, the company told VentureBeat today.

Madefire produces a storytelling platform that incorporates the full range of a mobile device’s hardware to create a new form of digital storytelling that isn’t limited to turning pages — which is the universal method for advancing a story with books. Unlike the majority of digital comic books that were simply converted from print, motion books provide for artwork on a single page to move and interact with the reader (like swiping or tapping a touchscreen or moving the device to have artwork on a page shuffle around). A motion book’s story unfolds through layers of art, word balloons, and captions that unfold in sequence, which is sort of like reading a book that slowly fills a blank page with text as you read.

“Our goal is to make Madefire motion books available in more places, and now we have the money behind us to do just that,” Madefire cofounder Ben Wolstenholme said in an interview with VentureBeat.

Madefire does produce a handful of its own motion book series — from notable comic industry creators like Mike Carey, Dave Gibbons, and many other — that are available via its iOS apps and on the web via deviantArt. Earlier this year the startup got a huge win by bringing on major publishers IDW, Top Cow, and Boom Studios, who now use Madefire’s tool to create new motion books with their licensed characters. And with the 2013 New York Comic Con happening next week, Wolstenholme said he’s hopeful that the company will be able to announce even more publishing partners.

All books produced with Madefire’s motion book tool can be accessed or purchased in the Madefire store on iOS. And with more fresh content, you can start to see the full realization of Madefire’s business model — selling motion comic books with original and licensed characters that are exclusive to the Madefire platform.

Wolstenholme told me Madefire plans to use the additional funding to increase its relationship with publishers and other digital media companies. It will also use a portion of the funding to hire three to four new employees for business development, engineering, and support services — adding to its team of 13 full-time staffers.

The new round of funding was led by True Ventures, with participation from Anthem Venture Partners, Crosslink Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and a handful of digital media investment all-stars like former Apple SVP of applications Sina Tamaddon, former Macromedia chairman Bill Woodward, and others.

Founded in 2011, the Berkeley, Calif.-based startup has raised a total of 7.4 million in funding to date.

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