What follows is an excerpt from the Sumbola Executive Summary. Founders use these to raise funding for their start-up, and we thought you might like to see how we talk about Sumbola to prospective investors.
SUMBOLA EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Sumbola’s DNA is to reinvent how books (and other content) can be created, and consumed in a web browser or native format on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, and generate a creative economy platform that can be monetized and enjoyed by all its constituent users.
Sumbola makes reading more of a social experience where readers customize books with their page notes, chapter comments, highlighting and so on, and then share these with other readers, and meet new friends as a result. Sumbola’s platform is global and built on open standards so anyone with web access gets the full benefits.
Sumbola founders saw that the digital publishing ecosystem was missing the creative mesh and interaction of the content consumer, content creator, and talent. We’ll define each of these since they’re the critical elements for which the Sumbola platform was designed.
Consumers of content are web users who enjoy consuming content from the cloud via a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, and more importantly, they’re looking for professional content that appeals to their area of interest and allows them to socialize around that content and share their notes and insights with their fellow consumers. We call these content hubs a Community of Shared Interest (CoSI™). These reading experiences are also tracked and over time will be used to generate rewards called Sumbola credits which can be used to redeem products and services within the Sumbola platform. Each consumer currently has a personal library and this library also acts a store front which creates more conversion points for Sumbola.
Creators of content are storytellers. They use the web as their platform to connect to their audience without the “middleman” publisher, distributor, retailer, or other forms of intermediation. They seek a direct audience. They seek an audience that is loyal, social, and willing to invest time in their stories, whether those stories are words, music, art or film. These are the new storytellers who want to understand their audience, and to do that they need deep analytics. The Sumbola platform was designed to provide content creators with high-resolution data on how, when, where, what, and why the consumer consumes their content. This data empowers the content creator.
Talent is our term for those who are the co-creators of the content. They’re not the originators of the stories; they’re the completers, the refiners, the igniters, the networkers. For example, talent, in the context of books, is the editors, translators, proofreaders, illustrators, designers, etc. Sumbola is an ecosystem that allows these three core constituencies to operate as a team to improve and curate content, and keep it evergreen and thriving.
Sumbola is a Creative Economy Platform
The way Sumbola meshes Consumers, Creators and Talent is unique. Our Community of Shared Interest (CoSI™) structure is one of our central patents that define and defend our platform, and make possible how our consumers contribute, creators learn and talent extends the content. The key element of Sumbola is not that we have the best reading experience on the web (and we do), but that we have a platform that can help all three of constituencies earn income—yes, even consumers (more about that later).
Our platform is a unique business model that generates sales from content, but also from talent-creator interactions. For example, an author might hire a voiceover talent to produce an audio book of the author digital book. The author pays the talent, and Sumbola generates income. The audio book now becomes a product that can be sold on Sumbola and again, Sumbola shares in the revenue.
A consumer with a certain expertise might have read a book and made expert’s commentary on the book, highlighting key passages, appending notes, and developing a custom version of the book that they can publish on the platform as an abstract book (author permission required). The author shares in the revenue of this new version of their book as does Sumbola. One of our patents deals with this specific innovation.
This intermixing of multiple products from a single product, and being able to monetize this for the benefit of all is a significant aspect of the platform.
Target Market Size and Need
Sumbola will initially target Authors, Readers, and Talent, but the Sumbola platform is not constrained to books. Sumbola’s vision is to provide a platform for all forms of digital content, including films, music, art, and transmedia.
In phase one, Sumbola targets indie authors, readers and talent together in a digital ecosystem that allows:
- Authors to self-publish on the cloud with IP protection, and a powerful feature set to enhance the reading experience of their books with transmedia plug-ins.
- Talent to collaborate with authors and get paid for their contributions.
- Readers to become part of a Community of Shared Interest (CoSI) and add their notes, comments, insights, highlights, reviews and reading experience data to the book. Readers can see every other read on earth that is on the same page or reading the same book in real-time via a 3D map or page list.
The size of this market is huge. On Facebook and LinkedIn there are over one-million self-described authors. Because Sumbola is a cloud-based platform, we do not have any technological fragmentation (we can run on all browser-based platforms and mobile devices) or DRM constraints (Sumbola has its own proprietary web DRM). Sumbola is addressing a huge global market of 2.5 billion users. According to Research and Markets’ Publishing: Global Industry Guide, in 2016, the global publishing market is forecast to have a value of $273 billion, an increase of 11.7% since 2011. Global Industry Guide is an essential resource for top-level data and analysis covering the Publishing industry. The talent market space is growing exponentially due to the layoffs in the publishing industry. Readers are online to access and discover new authors and books cost effectively, and to be part of a community of fans.
Sumbola’s platform is perfectly positioned for authors who desire to self-publish and want to make their books available to a global marketplace, own the reading experience data of their book, promote their book based on data, enhance the look and feel of their books, have a direct communication channel to their readers, and make an income.
The need for Sumbola is strong and growing. Publishing and book distribution are undergoing radical change from a rapidly emerging digital ecosystem that is melding the use of text, art, music, audio, and video through technology. The publishing function is being deconstructed with the emergence of increasingly sophisticated self-publishing vendors who operate cost-efficiently in the digital ecosystem. The need for bookstore intermediation in the sale and distribution of books is being rendered less and less relevant by a price-sensitive readership who demands instant gratification (download digital books).