Graphic.ly Raises $3 Million: Interview With CEO Micah Baldwin

January 28, 2011

2:50 pm

Long time Tech Cocktail friend and supporter Micah Baldwin has been busy – running a company and raising money. Baldwin is CEO of Boulder-based startup, Graphic.ly, a digital comic book hub where fans can get the latest and greatest while connecting and sharing with others. The site has over 150 publishers and creators with over 2,000 books in their store – and sales are trending up. Fortunately, now that Baldwin’s completed their Series A round, raising $3 million from DFJ Mercury (with 500 Startups, Dundee VC, Ludlow Ventures and some angel investors as well) he can get back to business – growing and expanding the coolest comic book experience in the world.

We were able to catch up with the CEO and get his perspective on this latest round of funding and his outlook for the company.

Tech Cocktail [TC]: How long did the process take for raising this round? Can you tell our audience a little about the process and what your most important goals were?
Micah Baldwin [MB]: The process took a couple of months, but when it got down to the raise, it took a couple of weeks. There are three things a company needs to raise money successfully: vision, team and traction. Luckily, we found the right investors that were as excited as we are about our vision, team and early traction. We had dozens of folks to work with, and we really were careful to choose investors that understood the entertainment space, ecommerce, startups, etc. in a way that aligned with our open and community driven philosophy.

Micah Speaks at Tech Cocktail's Startup Mixology Conference Oct 2010

Micah Speaks at Tech Cocktail's Startup Mixology Conference

TC:  What exciting plans do you have on the horizon for the company?
MB: First, I plan to sleep. For at least a couple of hours. 🙂 We are focused on giving the community what they have been asking for, an engaging, immersive experience around comic books/graphic novels. There are plenty of online comic book stores, but there are few places that allow you to enjoy both the art/storytelling and the sharing/discussion. We are looking to expand the comic book experience by bringing in audio, video, casual gaming and other digital content that really make for a fantastic holistic experience.

TC:  How will this round help Graphic.ly get to the next level?
MB: It will allow us to double down on the two things that are required for startup success: deeply talented developers and innovative technology. We have hired 4 people in the past month alone — all developers — that have already had a huge impact on our future.

TC:  Tell us a little about your audience and how this will help grow your base. We saw a mention that your Chrome app has really helped – what does that tell you about your market?
MB:  Definitely there is a huge international market. Google is a great partner, and its clear that people are still using the web, regardless of what Apple might have you believe… 🙂 Our experiences around being a launch partner with Google were great. We were able to truly develop not only a product that has gotten a ton of kudos and use, but it has helped us understand our market better, and what people are looking for in an experience like ours.

From Graphic.ly: "Sure, it runs on your desktop, mobile phone, and fancy new iPad. But it’s not just a digital comic reader. It’s also a comic book hub—a place to find, share, and learn..."

TC:  You’re in a very unique business and must come up against nay-sayers all the time. What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs who face similar challenges?
MB:  Listen to the nay-sayers. Often they have great points. Don’t be so focused that you miss the pitfalls that are ahead of you. Focus on: clarity of vision, strength of team and depth of traction, and you will be fine.

TC:  Any specific messages you’d like to share with hopeful but unpublished comic creators out there?
MB:  Its not difficult to get your stuff out on the web – check out ComicPress a great plugin for WordPress. And then hustle, hustle, hustle. And, if they need any help, shoot me an email at [email protected], or call at 720-248-8499 or IM me on GTALK at [email protected] Happy to help in any way I can.

TC:  Some last words to share?
MB:  I havent been this excited about what we are working on in over a year. I’m excited that our vision has been validated by top line investors, and I am just very impatient to get some of our new stuff out the door!!

Thanks so much, Micah! We’re looking forward to exciting things this year from Graphic.ly.

Additional reading about Graphic.ly and Micah Baldwin:
Take Comics Turns Graphic.ly & Raises $1.2M – Jan 2010
A Conversation with Graphic.ly CEO Micah Baldwin – March 2010

Watch this video of Micah Baldwin talking about Graphic.ly and the comic book experience.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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