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13 June 2018

Bibliotech bookmarks $4m round

University of Oxford Innovation Fund has backed Bibliotech's digital textbook library service, which is already used by universities including Oxford itself.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

Bibliotech Education, a UK-based digital textbook library service co-founded by a University of Oxford alumnus, has closed a £3m ($4m) series A round featuring University of Oxford Innovation Fund (UOIF), Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.

The round, which initially targeted $2.7m, was led by the family office of Paul Forster with participation from angel investor Fritz Demopoulos. UOIF is operated by Parkwalk Advisors, the fund management arm of commercialisation firm IP Group.

Founded in 2013, Bibliotech operates an e-book library that offers university students subscription access to academic textbooks for their course in exchange for a monthly fee. E-books can also be rented individually at a 40% to 70% discount on their retail price.

The company has agreements in place with 20 institutions, including Oxford.

Bibliotech will use the capital to grow its headcount as it pursues more partnerships with universities, this time focusing on the US market.

Dave Sherwood, CEO of Bibliotech, helped co-found the company while studying for an Oxford degree in politics, philosophy and economics. He was assisted by three alumni from University of Western Australia, Daniel Engelke, Ellis Gecan and Tao Mantaras.

Bibliotech Education was incubated by Oxford University Innovation, the university’s tech transfer office. The company raised £290,000 in seed funding, though details are unclear.

Oxford Sciences Innovation, the university’s venturing fund, joined University of Oxford Innovation Fund in a round of undisclosed size for Bibliotech in April 2017.

Sherwood said: “It is a game-changing democratisation of education. The Spotify or Netflix generation want everything in one place, and we knew from our own experience that undergraduate students were finding e-textbooks too expensive, and too awkward.”

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