Austin-based Literati Lands $12 Million in Funding

Photo courtesy of Literati

Literati, a children’s subscription book service, announced Wednesday that it has received $12 million in new funding.

Nikhil Basu Trivedi at Shasta Ventures led the Series A round.

Jessica Ewing and Kelly Carroll founded Literati in 2016. Literati is a children’s book club aimed at children from birth to 12 years old.

The company plans to use the funding to strategically grow the business and to hire new employees in Austin.

“I’ve been on the lookout for the next great consumer subscription business, having invested at Shasta in category-defining brands such as Dollar Shave Club, Imperfect Foods, and The Farmer’s Dog,”  Basu Trivedi said in a news release. “The book market is massive, and Literati’s growth, customer love, and mission really blew me away as I spent time with Jess, Kelly, and the Literati team.”

Other investors included Dick Costolo of 01 Advisors, former CEO of Twitter, Katie Jacobs Stanton and Jessica Verrilli of #Angels, Dan Graham of Austin’s Springdale Ventures, Kevin Hartz, founder of Eventbrite, Thomas Lehrman, founder of GLG, Allan Hubbard, former director of the National Economic Council, and follow-on investments from Founders Fund, Pathfinder and Silverton Partners. Additionally, Literati received funding from Brent Montgomery at Wheelhouse, backed by comedian and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.

“Our mission is to build a lasting company that stands for lifelong learning and sparks revolutionary excitement in books and literature,” Founder and CEOEwing said in a news release. “We hit our stride in this round, adding key investors who really get our vision. We want to build consumer products that make life more meaningful, not merely more efficient.”

“Literati is a shining example of the innovative new companies that are being built outside of Silicon Valley. Jessica’s vision for the company is expansive and inspiring, and it is revolutionizing one of the last undisrupted media channels – the massive books market,” Costolo said in a news release. “We are excited to see the next phase of growth for Literati.”

Literati is a subscription book service that charges $9.95 a month for a box of five books. Parents have seven days to return the books they don’t want in a pre-paid envelope and they pay Amazon retail prices for the ones they want to keep.

Kids, ages eight to 18, are now using screens – laptops, tablets, phones, TVs, Playstations, Xboxes, etc., up to seven hours a day. That’s where Literati fits in with parents who want their kids to read more books and get away from electronics.

“The curation around themes is incredible and we discover books we’d never discover otherwise,” Cyan Banister, partner at Founders Fund Pathfinder who led Literati’s seed round of funding, said in a news release. “Research shows that creating a steady stream of new age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months.”