PRESS RELEASE: Osprit, Inc. Raises $500,000 in Series A Funding For Interactive Social Book Technology
Former Early Google Engineer Colin Wong Leads Osprit Initiative
Seattle startup Osprit has raised $500,000 for its interactive social book technology. Prominent investors include Andy Liu, CEO of BuddyTV, Edward Yim, CEO of ClassifiedAds.com and James Wong, CEO of Avidian Technologies who will be joining the Board of Directors.
Osprit’s first product is ooBible (http://www.oobible.com), an online Bible website aimed at changing how people read their Bibles daily. “The Bible is the bestselling book of all time, every year, and represents a $500M market in the US alone. Current reading trends show people are reading digitally more than ever. We want to bridge that gap by creating a reading experience that not only mimics physical books, but also combine a social experience of shared learning”, says Colin Wong, CEO of Osprit.
ooBible is an integrated reading experience, where notes and highlights can be shared across multiple Bible versions, on the iPhone, iPad, Android, RIM, Windows Mobile and the web. What separates it from other Bible websites is a focus on the social experience, enabling users to follow the teachings of popular Bible teachers in their readings. Pastors can engage their congregation in a shared reading plan and users can start up study groups to keep each other motivated and accountable.
“In olden times, the written word was read out loud to be heard. But all that changed with the Gutenberg press. We went from one shared scroll to everyone having their own personal Bibles. Now we’ve come back full circle where you not only have your own Bible, but you can also re-experience the reading together, through technology. A shared reading experience enriches everyone involved because people multiply their understanding, through different perspectives. It’s about finding meaning in what you’re reading.” says Wong.
Wong was one of the early Google employees and helped lead the launch and rapid growth of the highly successful Google AdSense program, enabling publishers to monetize their content on the Internet. Prior to leaving Google, Wong also managed some of Google’s largest AdWords advertisers including Amazon, Expedia, eBay and more.
“The early days of Web 2.0 book technology was people sharing what they’re reading. Shelfari is a great example of this and they were acquired by Amazon. It’s very logical that we’re now socializing not just about the book but also inside the book. You’re connecting with friends while reading and you’re gaining insight because everyone’s contributing their understanding.” says Andy Liu.
ooBible.com is currently in early preview and is expected to launch in Fall 2011 with a fully distributed platform on both the web and all major mobile platforms including the iPhone, iPad and Android systems.