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Self-publishing startup Notion Press and talent marketplace Zolo raises early-stage funding

Sanghamitra Kar
29th Aug 2016
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Notion Press funding

Self-publishing startup Notion Press has raised $1 million in pre-Series A funding from undisclosed HNIs. With the raised capital, the startup plans to strengthen its management team and expand its services in the market.

Notion Press is a self-publishing platform for Indian writers to publish and sell books around the world in both print and eBook forms. Notion Press offers various publishing, book printing, distribution, and marketing services to both authors and publishers from around the world.

The technology startup aims to solve the challenges associated with book publishing and distribution by creating highly scalable solutions that work across the globe.

It was founded in 2012 by two engineers, Naveen Valsakumar and Bhargava Adepalley, and Jana Pillay, who has a background in publishing. So far, the startup claims to have published over 2,000 authors and sold books in over 100 countries.

Naveen
Naveen Valsakumar

Commenting on the funding, Naveen Valsakumar, CEO, said,

“We are launching our US operations in the middle of September and would be launching in three other countries by end of this financial year. With support from our investor group, we will be able to execute our vision more rapidly and broadly.”

Along with publishing, the company also provides tools, data, and expertise, enabling authors to take business decisions. Notion Press is now working on a technology product that will help authors actively promote their work. Apart from its global expansion, it is also looking to offer its services in more Indian languages

Publishing segment

One of the most noteworthy funding stories in this segment was publishing firm S. Chand & Company closing a $27 million (Rs 179.2 crore) round of funding which was led by International Finance Corp at the end of 2015. Earlier this year, they also invested an undisclosed sum in online test prep platform Testbook.

Although the education sector has received tremendous traction and with key players like Simplilearn, Vedantu, and BYJU’s securing heavy funds, the publishing sector has not witnessed many new players or advancement of technology. The Indian publishing ecosystem is still largely dominated by the likes of Penguin, Macmillan, and Cambridge University Press India, among others.

 

Zolo funding

Delhi-NCR-based Zolo, a talent marketplace, also raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Switzerland-based software company Hitouch AG. This is Hitouch AG’s first investment in India.

The platform where people can discover, buy, and sell unique talents and skills connects the two parties — those who provide goods and services and those who need them — and acts as the intercessor, as the middleman.

With the capital, Zolo intends to expand to other cities. Also, Zolo intends to add more categories of services under its portfolio.

The startup in a statement said that it is a commission-based model making around 10–20 percent from vendors on each sale. By March 2017, Zolo is expecting a revenue of $12–15 million GMV.

“Zolo intends to capitalise on the growing trend of people looking to start their own business and work at their own convenience. We like to think of ourselves as a platform for solo entrepreneurs helping them build an income and a growing personal brand for long lasting success. We're also launching dedicated platforms like Zolo Homes, Zolo Skills, Zolo Rentals, Zolo Academy, Zolo Lounges, and Zolo Eat to build a holistic environment with space, technology, and marketing for solo entrepreneurs to build a business on their core competencies and leave the rest to us,” said Satayu Basu, Co-founder and CEO, Zolo.  

Talent marketplace

In this segment, one of the major consolidations that grabbed headlines this year was that of Quikr acquiring Bengaluru-based job portal Hiree.

The segment includes key players like HackerRank and other job portals like Monster, Naukri, and CareerBuilder. LinkedIn is a leading player in the segment and was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal

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