Graphic.ly – Another Digital Comics Option is Unveiled

New broke last night that Graphic.ly, a new digital comics publishing platform, raised over 1 million dollars backed by venture capitalist firm DFJ Mercury.  This is a bit more of the business side of things than we normally cover but as the trend towards digital comics starts to gain some momentum, we felt it was worth highlighting for a couple of reasons.

We've been covering the info and news around Longbox, the hotly anticipated digital comics platform now in private beta, and while the other area of digital comics on mobile devices have gotten traction with mobile device apps like iVerse (who have been a supporter of and past sponsor of iFanboy), Panelfly and Comixology, the emergence of Graphic.ly is interesting in that it provides another option for digital comics and this time, both on the desktop and from the looks of their website, on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android phones.

What's further interesting is, while other digital comics companies have been announcing or releasing products, very few have show this level of investment.  A million dollars is a lot of money for any company to recieve so early in their lifetime and given the list of other investors, it shows that many business people outside of the comic industry agree with Graphic.ly's plan to delivering digital comics, enough to kick in investment money.

As with the other digital comics options, we'll be keeping an eye on Graphic.ly and will keep you up to date on their progress, so stay tuned for (hopefully) more interesting digital comics news as 2010 seems to be heating up already!

 

Below is the press release from Graphic.ly with details of their announcement and fund raising


 

Graphic.ly Takes Off Like A Speeding Bullet
With Series A Funding

 

With Lead Investment from DFJ Mercury,
Graphic.ly Looks to Extend Community Around Digital Comics, Publishing and Merchandise

 

 

January 4, 2010 – Boulder, CO – Graphic.ly, the cutting-edge community and digital content delivery platform for comics and other forms of publishing, announces the close of its Series A round with more than $1 million in funding. The funding comes from a mix of venture capitalist firms, strategic and individual investors. Funds will be used to expand development and marketing efforts and begin work on content partnerships.

 

This round of funding which was lead by DFJ Mercury, included strategic investor Starz Media, LLC, as well as, Northstar Equity Investors and GC&H Investments LLC. Individual investment contributions were received from David Cohen, Chris Sacca, Jake Nickell, Paige Craig and Dave McClure.

 

“Graphic.ly is changing the ways that people read and engage with content,” said Blair Garrou, Managing Director, DFJ Mercury. “Comic publishers and creators are looking for new ways to deliver content to their fan base and readership, as well as a way for those readers to engage and form a community. Graphic.ly provides this easy-to-use solution for publishers and readers.”

Micah Baldwin, CEO and co-founder of Graphic.ly, notes that the company strives to provide a place for everyone that enjoys storytelling in comic books and wants to discuss the art and writing with their friends.

“We have begun work with the comic book industry to bring them to the Graphic.ly platform in a new and interesting way that extends beyond just simply providing digital comics," Baldwin said. 

 

"While we are excited to bring publishers such as Marvel to the iPhone,” noted Kevin Mann, Chief Scientist and co-founder, “we are more excited about allowing readers to engage and access their libraries and exclusive content wherever and whenever they desire.”

Marc DeBevoise, SVP, Digital Media, Business Development & Strategy for Starz Media, noted, ”In our business, we have seen digital media transform the way consumers learn about, interact with and ultimately view television and movie content.  We see this transformation as a key opportunity in various forms of content. We are excited about the investment in Graphic.ly and its approach to bringing this kind of change to the comics and publishing world.  Micah and his team recognize that the opportunity at-hand is not just about making content available, but making it available in the right context and with the expanded features that allow users to interact with the content and each other.”

 

Graphic.ly (formerly known as TakeComics) was selected to the 2009 Techstars program in Boulder. Kevin Mann and Thanavanth Jaroenvanit participated in the program, and Micah Baldwin, who was a Techstars mentor, joined at the end of the program.

About Graphic.ly

Graphicly is a cutting-edge digital content delivery system and community platform for the publishing world. Graphic.ly’s first product, which focuses on comic publishers, creators and enthusiasts, provides an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise. The company looks to expand its community and­­ content platform and become the de facto solution for print media. For more information, please visit http://www.graphic.ly.

 

About DFJ Mercury

DFJ Mercury is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, DFJ Mercury invests in compelling and novel start-up opportunities in the information technology, advanced materials and bioscience sectors. DFJ Mercury seeks to partner with extraordinary entrepreneurs to build globally competitive businesses, focusing on investments emanating out of Texas and targeted regional tech clusters in the Mid- and Southwest. Our team has extensive experience and strong relationships with technology transfer offices, and appreciates hard science with solid intellectual property. For more information, please visit http://www.dfjmercury.com.



 

Comments

  1. Their site has a Marvel (WWHulk) cover on their supported devices image. So…that could be very big.

  2. Signed up for their beta.

  3. Whoops. I should’ve read the full release. Okay, so they’re pleased to bring "Marvel to the iPhone." I hope Big Two’s titles aren’t restricted to that platform only.

  4. If the iSlate/Mac Tablet thingy finally arrives and takes off I could see myself switching a lot of my monthlies to a digital format. Pricing has to be right though. Buying a cheap 99c digital issue every month and then buying the trade could be the way to go.

  5. TechCrunch syas they have a deal with marvel: http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/04/graphicly-funding/ .  I suspect it’s like the deals marvelhas with iphone apps, so older comics.  still interested to see where this goes.

  6. Well, it’s a press release, alright. Has the word "cutting edge" in it and everything. 😉

    I’m always curious to see where these things goes. From the kinda vague indications here, it seems focused on being a social network AND a Content Delivery System. But what is the system? I’ll wait to see the product. 

    I don’t know that the social network interaction is a draw. I mean, we get all that immersive connection via Twitter and Facebook and a dozen other things. Every time people try to force a niche social network, it doesn’t seem like it lasts. Remember Comicspace? Yeah… 

    Anyway, I don’t want to down anything before I see what it is. But i can’t really rally around a vague press release either. We’ll have to wait and see. 😉

  7. We’re really excited with the announcement.  There are still tons more of cool things coming this month.  Don’t hesitate to follow us on twitter @graphicly.  There have been some line jump codes going out on twitter.

     We want to get an awesome community going and I’m hoping a lot of iFanboy people join up, since I’ve learned over the last couple years how awesome everyone is.

  8. Wish they’d stop announcing these things until they are ready for launch. Getting people’s hopes up for nothing. Wake me up when one of these services actually launches with DC, Marvel and Image books available.

  9. BTW, Marvel Comics are available digitally on the PSP. Never used it, so I don’t know how they are.

  10. OK, giving it its fair shake. Signed up for the beta. And @jstump’s a good guy, and if he’s involved, that’s a point to graphic.ly. 😉

  11. Congrads to jstump. I literally had no idea he was running something like this till now. Gald to see something worthwhile in the digital comic industry to be announced.

    Here’s to the success of jstump!

  12. Thanks Dave!  We are trying to do what you mentioned earlier of setting up a community and selling books at the same time.  We hope to get tons of input from people who are getting into the beta.

  13. Competition is always a good thing. I look forward to hearing more about this in the future and have signed up for the beta as well.

    Congrats, jstump! 

  14. @jstump – well, you’ll definitely get my input. I definitely have both enhtusiasm and a lot of skepticism — hopefully in healthy doses. Bring on the beta and let’s see what this thing is all about. That’s my main concern with the press release — it’s sooooo press releasey! Doesn’t tell us much. 😀 (Not your fault, I know. And, hey, I’ve written them myself. And using "cutting edge" more than I’d like.)

  15. Times like this I wish I had an iphone or the like…..I am so 2008.

  16. For some clarification this was a press release about funding.  That’s part of the reason there isn’t a whole lot of information in it.  As I mentioned earlier lots of cool stuff to be announced and I can’t tell you how excited I am about all of it.

    @TNC – You could also use an ipod touch with the app when it comes out.  They’re a little bit easier to get your hands on. 

  17. @jstump – oh, sure — totally understandable, too. That’s why my attitude was "well, let’s wait and see what the content delivery system is." The iFanbase didn’t really rally around Longbox until we saw demos and such. We expect the same from you next. 😀

  18. @jstump Awesome news. Signed up for the Beta as well. I’m very much interested in seeing how these endavours pan out for the industry and technology and e-commerce, so while I’m not a big fan of digi comics (Though I did just get a Kindle, so I may fast become a hypocrite) I’m curious to see how it all comes out. One question though… Support for Mac OS? 

  19. @jstump: I should get that too. My sister has one and she gloats about it every time she has it near me.

    So would we be able to go up to a creator on this and talk to them about the comic? That is actually a cool idea. Although I can see a flaw in that, especially if it is a bit of a thick who just wants to make fun of the person.

  20. @Praxjarvin we will run on Adobe Air which works on Win/Mac/Linux.

  21. @jstump Fantastic. That’s what I had gathered, but just wanted to clarify.

  22. I would like to see books on graphic.ly day and date with the stores. Is that a pipe dream?

  23. @Aquapimp82 I guess I’m not sure what your question is. Can you give a little more explanation and I can see what I can do about answering it?

    @TNC Yes we would love to get more and more creators involved in the community.  It’s already pretty easy to talk to them online with FB and Twitter, we hope people will like having a more central location to do it.

    Check out some news that went up early this morning on our blog. http://blog.graphic.ly/2010/01/giving-the-company-to-the-community/ 

  24. He’s asking when it will be possible to get comics online the same wednesday they’re new in the store. Day and date releases.

  25. OH!  I wondered if that’s what he ment.  I don’t think it’s a pipe dream at all and is one of our goals.  A big part of what we want is getting people books they want the day they come out.  The other big part of that of course is so that they can talk about them with one another through Graphic.ly.

  26. Does anyone know if there will be support for legacy formats? PDF, etc?

  27. You can only read books purchased through the Graphic.ly store.  We plan on having a bunch of extras for issues along with integrating them with the social aspects.  Also the reader does a lot more with a book, it’s a lot better then viewing a PDF in my honest opinion.