Featured Startup Pitch: Ebook publishing startup Pubsoft wants to help publishers and authors reclaim the ‘reader relationship’

By Editor January 6, 2014

Courtesy of Pubsoft.By Dougal Cameron, Pubsoft co-founder and COO

Elevator Pitch: Pubsoft gives today’s publishers a way to reclaim relationships with authors and readers by creating a branded ebook store for direct sales and delivering powerful mobile, SEO, and social marketing tools, as well as an intuitive dashboard to generate analytics and manage royalties.

Product/Service Description

Pubsoft is a digital publishing engine that is empowering the next generation of great publishers with an array of intuitive solutions to manage multiple facets of publishing and sales. The easy-to-use administration portal lets publishers instantly create and manage an ebook store for direct sales to consumers, drive social media-enabled marketing campaigns, deliver ebooks to mobile devices, manage authors and distribute royalties. With backend solutions that streamline administration, and a unique interface that connects publishers, authors, and readers with unparalleled transparency, Pubsoft is poised to change the way publishers operate in the 21st century.

Founders’ Story

Pubsoft was founded and launched in 2012 by CEO Isaac Shi and me. Originally from China, Isaac came to the U.S. for his education, and eventually became the lead engineer at Prognosis, a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)-based inpatient electronic medical records system, and iHotelier, the largest branded hotel booking engine in the U.S., which is currently used by thousands of hotels worldwide. Our backgrounds are complementary: Isaac brings deep technical expertise and experience with building secure systems to the table. Prior to getting an MBA from Rice University and passing all three levels of the CFA, I worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where I gained extensive experience on the operations side.

Isaac and I had worked together on projects previously, and we enjoyed bouncing startup ideas around. The ‘eureka’ moment came when Isaac was reading an article on his iPad and searched for a different take on a subject. He thought it would be great if there were a way to easily publish his own thoughts, so he did some research on simple-to-use yet robust publishing engines and immediately spotted a hole in the market. We both recognized the potential for a new kind of publishing solution—not just for the medical, hospital, hospitality, or financial sectors, but across the board. That idea—and opportunity—became Pubsoft.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Currently, we’re focusing on a B2B approach: Our primary pitch to publishers is to offer a way for them to access their customers again, something that is sorely lacking in the digital publishing industry today. Amazon, the largest ebook retailer, currently owns the reader relationship, which is a huge change from how it used to work. We’re offering publishers a way to recapture their audiences, and we’re giving authors the power to understand and leverage their connection with readers. Pubsoft provides an unprecedented level of transparency between publishers, authors, and readers in the digital space, and we think that’s a value proposition all three stakeholders can and should embrace.

Market Opportunity

Ebooks have captured nearly a quarter of the total book sales market over the past several years, experiencing explosive growth across virtually all categories. Pubsoft’s competitors include App Annie, which provides analytics on ebook sales, and BookShout, which provides a marketing solution and platform-building software.

How Pubsoft Differs from Competitors

Other companies provide a piece of the puzzle—analytics, a platform, marketing tools—but Pubsoft puts it all together in one intuitive package. Only Pubsoft designed an ecosystem that integrates functions and specifically generates value for each stakeholder—including the publisher, author, and reader. As a cloud-based publishing engine, Pubsoft can be incorporated into an existing site or branded to serve a publisher’s unique needs.

Business Model

Pubsoft uses an implementation pricing model based on the level of customization required to set up the system on an existing infrastructure. As a cloud-based system, Pubsoft can be incorporated into any existing site, but it can also be branded to meet individual publisher requirements. Usage, transaction fees, user fees and database storage fees also apply.

Pubsoft’s Current Needs

Pubsoft is currently seeking additional funding. The company is privately held, but is not committed to that status indefinitely. As a growing business, Pubsoft is currently adding staff in the sales and copywriting categories: The company seeks multifaceted people with an enthusiasm for the industry who can cover many different positions in publishing and software.

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Pubsoft logoHeadquarters: Houston, Texas

Website: www.pubsoft.com

Founders: Dougal Cameron, Isaac Shi

Investors: Private Angel investors

Year Founded: 2012

Employees: 13

Blog: pubsoft.com/pubsoft-university/

Twitter: @Pubsoft

Facebook: facebook.com/Pubsoft

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/pubsoft