Digital comics publisher Madefire gains new funding

Treatment by Dave Gibbons, published digitally by Madefire

Treatment by Dave Gibbons, published digitally by Madefire

Madefire, creator of the 5-star rated Madefire App for iOS, the brain child of Liam Sharp, Ben Wolstenholme and others, has announced it has closed $5.2 million in Series A funding to further develop its  digital comics publishing program.

Madefire: THe Truth About Katie Rogers Issue 1Madefire’s recently announced partnerships with several top comic book publishers have brought more established titles to startling life in the Motion Book format. The company will use the capital to continue to grow its unique marketplace with a continuous flow of original weekly material exclusive to the Madefire App and online. IDW, Top Cow, Boom and iTV Studios America are using Madefire’s technology — which embraces the native capabilities of mobile devices — to bring an immersive experience to global franchises such as Star Trek, Transformers, My Little Pony, and The Darkness.

The new financing was led by True Ventures, with participation from Anthem Venture Partners, Crosslink Ventures and Correlation Ventures.

Several notable angels, passionate about the intersection of technology and entertainment, also contributed to Madefire’s Series A round — including Sina Tammadon, a former SVP of Applications at Apple Inc., Bill Woodward, Ex-Chairman of Macromedia, Richard Seet, media Entrepreneur and investor, and renowned Hollywood attorney Gary Stiffelman. The funding follows a seed round of $1.1 million completed in October 2011, also led by True Ventures.

Ben Wolstenholme

Ben Wolstenholme

“As reading rapidly moves to digital devices — people expect more than just scanned in books,” said Ben Wolstenholme, CEO of Madefire. “We’ve built a touch-publishing platform that creates Motion Books — an immersive reading experience. I’m stunned at the team we have behind us — from WordPress, Apple, Macromedia, Flipboard — people who live at the intersection of technology and media; people who have built large scale platforms to empower storytelling.”

Madefire has built a first-of-its-kind cloud-based publishing tool for creating Motion Books and, through its new partnership with deviantART — the largest online creative community in the world with over 28 million users — artists and writers can create and publish to the new Motion Books category.

“Madefire will truly empower the next wave of great storytelling by providing a platform where creativity is allowed to flourish, engaging all of the senses and transforming the reading experience,” said Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic, creators of popular blogging platform WordPress.com, and venture partner at True Ventures.

Liam Sharp

Liam Sharp

Founded in 2011 by Ben Wolstenholme, Liam Sharp and Eugene Walden, Madefire provides artists and writers a publishing solution for iOS and web reading allowing them to build their stories in an exciting new format called Motion Books.

Madefire’s Advisory Board  includes industry leaders Mike McCue, CEO and Founder of Flipboard, Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen, and Bill Sienkiewicz, widely recognized as one of the greatest innovators of sequential art.

Founded in 2006, True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology startups. With three funds and approximately $600 million in capital under management, True provides seed and Series A funding to the most talented entrepreneurs in today’s fastest growing markets. With a mission to make the world a better place for entrepreneurs, True encourages each founder’s vision and has built resources to empower the employees, families and communities of its portfolio companies.

Madefire: The EngineThe firm maintains a strong founder community and offers innovative educational opportunities to its portfolio, helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success and impact. With more than 100 companies funded and multiple companies acquired, the True portfolio has created over 1,900 jobs.

Anthem Venture Partners is a Santa Monica based venture fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. Anthem is usually the first institutional investor in new ventures. Anthem has a long track record of being the first to back great digital media companies like Android, Audyssey Labs, Blurb, BuzzMedia, Demand Media, NevenVision, Planet ATE, Siperian, TrueCar, VuVox, Wavestream, and others.

• You can read Motion Books now at www.deviantart.com/motionbooks/. And join this group for access to the Motion Book Tool motionbooktool.deviantart.com

• To learn more about True Ventures, visit www.trueventures.com

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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