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Lost My Name, the kids “full-stack” personalised book publisher, picks up €4M from Project A Ventures

TechCrunch TechCrunch 1/06/2016 Steve O'Hear

Lost My Name, the London-based “full-stack” publisher and kids content startup, has added a new investor to its impressive list of backers that already includes Google Ventures, Greycroft and Forward Parters.

This time Berlin-based Project A Ventures has invested €4 million in the company in what is being described as an extension to Lost My Name’s original $9 million Series A round.

In a call, Lost My Name co-founder and CEO Asi Sharabi told me the decision to take further founding — which I understand actually closed a couple of months ago — is based on the operational support Project A offers. Specifically, in the areas of business intelligence, CRM and performance marketing.

In fact, I’m told that the German VC, which has several high profile Rocket Internet alumni as Managing Partners, has already seconded a number of its own 100-strong operational support team with the London startup, who have worked to put an in-house business intelligence unit in place. Florian Heinemann, founding partner at Project A, has also joined Lost My Name’s board.

Originally founded as a side project, Lost My Name is the company behind the best-selling personalised picture book for kids, “The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name”, and also the follow up, “The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home”, which infuses data in even more interesting ways to make the resulting book and its story even more personal.

To make this possible, the startup has built a bespoke e-commerce and publishing platform that enables it to personalise each storybook it sells on the fly, including pulling in data from third-party APIs, such as maps, as well as using data provided by the customer, such as a child’s name. It also has various printing partners around the world so that Lost My Name is able to operate on an on-demand and zero-inventory basis.

To that end, Sharabi likens the startup to ‘vertically integrated’ companies such as Warby Parker, in the sense that Lost My Name controls most aspects of its business processes in-house, from creating the stories, illustrations, to marketing and sales.

However, during our call, he told me that this is about to change and that Lost My Name is actively seeking to partner with outside creatives and companies, as it “opens up the platform”. “Technology and business models scale but creativity doesn’t,” he tells me.

And in particular he wants to connect with developers who are creative and will see the potential to infuse data into the publishing process to create entirely new kinds of kids content. Sharabi also revealed that the startup is working on a personalised alphabet poster, so is moving away from being purely a book publisher.

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