Dragons’ Den success stories: Wonderbly (and what you can learn from them)

Having secured the best equity deal in Dragons' Den history, publisher Wonderbly (rebranded from Lost My Name) has sold over two million books

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Company name: Wonderbly (rebranded from Lost My Name)
Description: Personalised illustrated fiction books for children
Series: 12
Year: 2014
Investment received: £100,000 for 4% equity
Dragon investor: Piers Linney
Still in business? Yes

Shaking up the traditional publishing industry with a dose of cutting-edge technology, Wonderbly uses clever algorithms to create truly personalised children’s books, placing their young reader within the story.

Founded in 2012 by ‘dadpreneurs’ Asi Sharabi, David Cadji-Newby, Tal Oron and Pedro Serapicos, Wonderbly (then known as Lost My Name) took to the Den in 2014 in search of a £100,000 funding boost.

During the pitch, the Dragons were impressed by the rapid growth that the business had experienced so far, having scaled by an eye-watering 2,000% between the October and November of 2013.

But it was tech-lover and fellow father Piers Linney who was won over by the business – so much so that he broke records by investing all of the requested money for just 4% equity; the best equity deal in the history of Dragons’ Den.

And it seems that this bold move paid off. Known for its beautiful illustrations, fun stories and intricate personalisation, Wonderbly has now sold over two million books in countries all over the world.

In June 2015, the business closed a $9m Series A round led by Google Ventures which was topped up with a €4m Series A extension in 2016, and in July 2017 Wonderbly clinched a further $8.5m in a Series B led by Ravenburger. The business has also scooped countless awards and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2016.

In August this year, the publisher announced a joint IP project with the Roald Dahl Estate, facilitating the creation of personalised books which will place their readers inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Reaping the rewards of his investment, in 2015 Linney was quoted as saying that Wonderbly was on track to become the most successful business to have ever passed through the Den’s walls.

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