Barcelona startup Boolino, coined as the “Google for children’s books”, has its sight set on being the world’s largest online platform for children’s books, for both the physical and digital landscapes. Acting as a bridge between the content and the buyers, Boolino brings both content creators and parents closer together by providing a marketing platform for publishers and a search and recommendation engine for parents.
Founders Sven Huber and Toni Montserrat had both been working together at Bertelsmann, Europe’s leading media company, for over 10 years which opened their eyes to the numerous opportunities in the industry. Among other roles, they headed up Librerías Bertrand, a retail venture in Spain and grew it from €0 to €12MM in revenues in just under 4 years, subsequently selling the company in 2011 to their main competitor Casa del Libro (Planeta).
After that invigorating experience of intrapreneurship, they set out on a mission to build something that they were passionate about: helping increase parents impact in the learning abilities of their children by fostering reading at home. Sven and Toni are both parents of young kids and understand the strong correlation between reading habits and skills on the one side and school results on the other side.
That coupled with the fact that within the book industry (which they know very well), the children’s and juvenile sector has been by far the best performing segment over the last decade and will also outperform the overall sector in the future. Although some might think that the target market is niche, it is in fact pretty hefty; alone the four markets where they will operate in 2015 – US, UK, Germany and Spain – have a market size of over €7 billion.
Both founders had initially bootstrapped the project and in 2013 joined Wayra Barcelona, and in November this year they closed a first financing round of 350.000 € with Spanish and international business angels which will be directed towards international expansion. Sven, CEO, has his sites on world domination, “Boolino will change the way children’s books are promoted, searched for, selected and bought. Worldwide.”
On top of the platform, Boolino is developing subscription-based premium services, having launched “my little book box”, a unique family reading tool for kids up to 8 years. In the future the idea is to develop additional subscription models, both in digital and for older kids. The Boolino platform will act as an accelerator of reading and educative children’s products and services.
In addition, this year they have rolled out various premium services for publishers to help them to get online visibility: Boolino partner and Boolino agency. The initial feedback has been overwhelming and they foresee that by end of 2015 they will be working for at least 80% of Spanish Top 50 publishers.