PaperLit, the Cagliari-based tech company specialised in the distribution and monetization of content on mobile devices and smart speakers for publishers and brands, has been 100% acquired by Datrix Group, a group specialised in Artificial Intelligence applications for the data-driven transformation and growth of companies. United Ventures will continue to follow PaperLit and Datrix achievements from within, as minor shareholder of Datrix.
Disrupting the Publishing Industry
Founded in 2009 in Menlo Park, California, PaperLit first revolutionized the way publishers around the world transform and distribute paper publications on mobile devices and helped them to adopt a more integrated digital strategy. While many were proclaiming that the publishing industry was dead or dying, PaperLit saw its potential; and when iPad was launched in 2010, PaperLit helped editorial groups to switch to digital and allowed readers to access their most loved magazines in a new and enriched way (extra multimedia contents, photo-galleries, videos, texts extractions, social media links). With its page flipper, it combined the strength of printed publications with a mobile dimension devised for digital media.
The company rapidly expanded to become a platform for digital publishing at 360 degrees. It became the smart digital publishing and mobile monetization solution for newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters. It allowed publishers to create digital editions of their print content, distribute & monetize them with a branded mobile app, engage readers & measure results. Since then, it has been creating hundreds of apps for smartphones, tablets and the web and offering services to publishers in over 20 countries and to clients such as Disney, Ferrari, Hearst Magazines, Rcs, Condé Nast, Forbes, Swatch Group, Mondadori.
In 2014 the story of PaperLit intertwines with United Ventures and its portfolio company AppsBuilder, the innovative mobile publishing and distribution platform that empowers SMEs and large enterprises to build a solid mobile presence, reach new customers and improve client retention through powerful mobile apps. The two companies merged in 2015 – Luca Filigheddu was appointed CEO and Daniele Pelleri (co-founder and former CEO of AppsBuilder) CPO of the brand new PaperLit. The merger allowed the newco to further implement the possibilities for publishers to enrich their products with new functions, expanding their offer, and give additional tools to users.
Meanwhile, digital publishing continued to expand and grow: according to the data collected by The State of Digital Publishing, 25% of all book sales in 2018 were for ebooks, up from 12% in 2013; streaming music represents 75% of the music industry revenue; three-quarters of subscribers to newspapers like the Financial Times and the New York Times are paying for digital-only subscriptions, and even local newspapers have more digital than print subscribers.
Thanks to its data-based operating methodology and a continuous focus on innovation, PaperLit has been able to adapt to the latest trends in digital publishing, such as the growth of audio, like podcasts or voice search, and the use of artificial intelligence in publishing, like voice assistants or language processing for categorizing content automatically.
While the company’s main product remains the platform (recently renamed MobiLit) where publishers around the world can transform and distribute print publications on mobile devices, in the last months PaperLit started working with Datrix to develop new products based on Artificial Intelligence technologies in order to respond to the evolving needs of the market: namely VoiceLit, for the distribution of content through smart speakers; DocLit, to extract and summarize relevant content within text; and MagPedia, to monetise the publisher’s archive, including text extraction, automatic SEO analysis and content optimization.
The collaboration has proved to be fruitful and the strong market demand indicates that this is the direction where publishing companies should be heading towards. PaperLit’s open culture has been allowing experimentation and exploration of the emergent technologies since its very beginning, and we trust that Datrix acquisition will bring great opportunities and mutually beneficial synergies to the two companies.
It has been a pleasure to accompany PaperLit along these years of growth and towards this deal – we look forward to its further accomplishments within the Datrix group, confident that PaperLit’s strong expertise and experience in digital publishing, combined with Datrix’ resources and cutting-edge technological infrastructure, will lead the company into the next phase of disruption of the industry.
Congratulations Luca Filigheddu and Fabrizio Milano D’Aragona!