It is not often that a startup generates buzz under a particular name and with a particular concept, only to totally rebrand and pivot, but book-subscription service Fabula, based in Finland and Latvia, has done just that.
Fabula offers features that have become standard in subscription services, allowing readers to take in as many books as they wish, access the platform on various Android and iOS-based devices, share quotes through Facebook or Twitter, read online or offline, etc. But where they are trying to gain an edge is through offering books in languages other than English, currently providing access to 12,000 titles in 7 languages. For the privilege of reading these titles, Fabula is charging 9.99 Euro/month, 26.99 Euro for 3 months, or 47.99 for 6 months. Since it launched in January 2014, startup has grown to the point that they are serving 7,000 active users per month. They initially launched in Latvia, but entered the Finnish market this week, thanks in part to a partnership with 12 Finnish publishers.
What is interesting about this startup is that it started with a focus on speed reading as a service called Fastr, but has since abandoned it. According to a representative of the company, the issue was that users might pay for the service, but only once. And they found that people were not only interested in the app, but consuming content through it, so Fabula made the decision to provide it. Eventually, buying the content became more important to readers than the speed-reading aspect, so the team at Fabula made the decision to pivot.
Fabula currently claims 740K Euro in investment from a group of backers that includes Imprimatur Capital, Vision+, and angels from the United States, Sweden, and Latvia, funding that the startup intends to devote towards expansion in the Nordics. Going forward, they are planning to enter European markets, but are committed to avoiding going head-to-head with Amazon.