Cork digital publisher ePub Direct raises €1.3m

16 Dec 2011

Will Prendergast, partner with NCB Ventures; Gareth Cuddy, CEO of ePub Direct; Michael Moriarty, Enterprise Ireland Manager High Potential Start-ups and private investor Hannah Kiely

Cork digital publishing company ePub Direct has raised €1.3m in venture capital in a round led by The Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, managed by NCB Ventures, with additional funding being provided by Enterprise Ireland and private investor Hannah Kiely.

The new equity funding will be used to support the future growth and development of the company.

Established in 2009, ePub Direct provides comprehensive e-book distribution services to publishers, enabling them to get their e-book titles to market quickly and efficiently.

The company currently employs seven people at its Cork base but with the new investment this is expected to grow in the next three years.

In addition to digital publishing, the company handles all distribution, administration and billing on behalf of its clients, which include major Irish and UK publishing houses. ePub Direct also powers the e-book platforms of several of the world’s largest publishing groups.

The company supplies these titles to 116 online retail stores, including Amazon, Apple and Waterstones, and more than 15,000 online libraries from across the world.

“This investment will allow us to expand and strengthen our team and help us realise our ambition of becoming the leading e-book distributor in Europe,” explained Gareth Cuddy, CEO of ePub Direct.

“In addition to the actual funding, the combined expertise and contact network of NCB and Enterprise Ireland will be invaluable to our business as we embark on the next exciting phase of our growth and development strategy,” Cuddy said.

Massive disruption in publishing world

Will Prendergast, a partner with NCB Ventures, said that after decades of stability the publishing industry is undergoing a period of huge disruption, with Amazon already selling more e-books than physical books.

“This creates global opportunities for entrepreneurs like Gareth and this funding will allow his team to accelerate their expansion and hiring plans in this new and expanding market.”

Prendergast will represent the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund on the board of ePub Direct.

Recent figures from US publishers indicate that about 20pc of all book sales are now digital.

“In the UK and Ireland, this figure is currently 8-10pc but expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Some projections indicate that digital could form up to half of all book sales by 2015.

Michael Moriarty, Enterprise Ireland manager High Potential Start-ups, said: “This is an ambitious, innovative company that is successfully carving out a niche in this new market area.

“They demonstrate all of the characteristics of a strong export-focused company winning new business and creating jobs. We look forward to continuing to work with the company as they internationalise the business and grow their customer base into the future,” Moriarty said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years