Kid-focused digital library service Epic has raised $8 million in a series C round of funding led by Reach Capital, with participation from Rakuten Ventures, Menlo Ventures, TransLink Capital, WI Harper, Brighteye Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors.
Founded out of Palo Alto in 2014, Epic offers unlimited access to around 25,000 books for $5 per month. The content is targeted at those under 12 years of age and includes thousands of accompanying learning videos, quizzes, and reading lists. Epic claims that its service is used in 87 percent of U.S. elementary schools.
Up until now, Epic had raised around $13 million in funding, and with its latest cash injection the company plans to expedite its growth, add to its team, and build out its platform for both home subscribers and schools.
There are a number of players in the ebook subscription space. The mighty Amazon offers Kindle Unlimited, which serves access to more than a million books for $10 a month, and it also offers Prime Reading as part of its annual Prime subscription service.
Elsewhere, Scribd used to offer an unlimited ebook subscription service for $9 per month, but it recently introduced a monthly three-book limit which, to be fair, is probably more than enough for most people. Oyster also offered something similar, but it shuttered back in 2015 after meeting resistance from publishers.
By focusing on a smaller niche, with a hand-selected slate of content and a platform specifically for educational institutions, Epic is seemingly building an attractive business, with publishing partners that include Macmillan, HarperCollins, Sesame Workshop, and more.
Epic launched its Educators-focused platform back in 2015, giving teachers free access to the Epic platform. As a result of this move, teachers use the platform to create supporting learning material, thus making the service more appealing to parents.
“We invested in Epic because of the excitement from teachers and children who were delighted by the platform,” explained Reach Capital general partner Jennifer Carolan. “In classrooms all over, we saw Epic spark children’s love for reading and inspire them to share their learning with others. We were impressed with Epic’s ability to capture the hearts of educators, children, and parents and create a seamless connection between school and home learning.”