Bedtime stories in 200 countries have gone hi-tech thanks to this company’s software, which generates unique books based on a child’s name, birth date or location.
Asi Sharabi, 43, conceived the idea for the business one evening in 2012 while reading a tailored storybook to his daughter. “I thought it was a great concept but poorly executed,” he said.
Another two fathers and an uncle — Pedro Serapicos, 42, Tal Oron, 40, and David Cadji-Newby, 42 — joined him to take on the personalised book business.
They worked on their first story, whose plot changes according to the letters of a child’s name, in their spare time before its launch in April 2013. By November, sales had hit 50,000 copies a month — all through word of mouth, newspaper reviews and social media.
Their profile was raised further in 2014 when Sharabi and his team appeared on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den and secured £100,000 from investor Piers Linney. This was followed by £16.5m in three rounds, led by investors including Google Ventures. The funding has enabled the company to develop its publishing platform and create new personalised stories in 12 languages.
There was a publicity coup last year when its book The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, which uses Nasa images and mapping technology, was read live from the International Space Station by astronaut Tim Peake.
Wonderbly, formerly known as Lost My Name, was tipped as a Tech Track One to Watch last year and has leapt into the Tech Track 100 league table with 2017 sales of £25.9m as book sales climb towards 3m.
It credits its growth to its business model. It creates the stories and illustrations in-house, alongside the technology to customise the books and ecommerce software to order them online. It has no inventory and prints on demand through third parties. Books are sold through its website, not in shops, giving it direct contact with customers and control over pricing.
This month it launched a personalised book featuring the Roald Dahl character Willy Wonka. Sharabi and his team may feel they have found their own golden ticket.
This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.