Sunday, April 24, 2011

eReader Company Kobo Secures $50 Million to Compete with Kindle and Nook

Kobo has closed a $50 Million investment round led by a leading institutional investor.  Existing investors also participated in the round; investing $13M.

"Kobo will use the new funding to continue its explosive growth internationally," said Greg Twinney, CFO of Kobo. "As the eReading space continues to heat up, Kobo is committed to providing an innovative experience that lets consumers read anytime, anyplace and share their love of reading with friends."

Kobo kicked off its European expansion last week, with the announcement of its plans to launch local content stores inGermany -- the largest book market outside of the US -- and Spain starting in May 2011.  Local stores for France, Italy and the Netherlands will follow this summer -- an industry first.  In providing local content and reading experiences for European readers, Kobo continues to build on the vision of giving people around the world the freedom to read on any device, and share their love of reading with friends.

Starting today, consumers can buy the highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook which comes pre-loaded with the Kobo eReading app -- in leading retailers across the US and Canada.  RIM selected Kobo as its strategic eReading partner, given its ability to service customers around the globe.

The Kobo eReading app delivers a personalized reading experience and allows users to choose the perfect text size and style, select between day and night mode, both featuring uninterrupted reading with seamless page turns and chapter transitions.  Plus, readers can switch between single or side-by-side page view simply in landscape orientation or simply rotate the Playbook to read in portrait orientation. Kobo is offering a free copy of Thomas Cleary's translation of The Art of War exclusively to BlackBerry PlayBook customers. Users can sign in or create their Kobo account from the BlackBerry PlayBook and the free eBook will be added directly to their library.

Since Kobo's launch in December 2009, Kobo has:
  • One of the largest stores worldwide: over 2.3 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines with titles ranging from the NYT bestseller list, the hottest new releases, thrillers, romance and over a million free books -- Kobo has built one of the largest stores in the world.
  • Over 3.2 million Users: with over 1 million users added in the last 90 days
  • An Open Platform: Kobo is dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users build their lifetime library, and access it from any device.
  • A leading eReader: Kobo has developed and launched two industry leading eReaders; the Kobo eReader and the Kobo Wireless eReader.
  • Top ranked eReading applications; for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm WebOS, Windows, MacOS
  • Localised Stores: Kobo already offers locally merchandised English language stores in the US, Canada, UK, Australia,New Zealand and Hong Kong -- with Germany and Spain launching in May, and France, Italy and the Netherlandslaunching this summer.
  • Leading Tablet Partners; including Samsung, Research In Motion and HTC have chosen Kobo as their global eReading platform for their mobile devices.
  • Leading Retail Partners; including Indigo (Canada), Best Buy (US & Canada), Borders (US), Walmart (US & Canada) Angus & Robertsons (AU), Whitcoull's (NZ), WHSmith (UK), Swindon (Hong Kong)
  • The Most Comprehensive Social eReading Experience -- Kobo's Reading Life; an industry-first social experience that enables passionate readers to connect with friends to discuss their favourite books on Facebook, build their Reading Life, and earn awards -- just for reading.

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