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A WINNING CIRCLE

Software development veterans Ryan Marquis and Mark Stubbs founded PixelMags just over two and a half years ago. Prior, the two had worked at Bunkspeed in Carlsbad, Calif.

Under Ignited Labs, we invested in PixelMags, taking on the role of both agency and investor.

Initially, PixelMag titles were only available on the iPhone, but it didn’t’ take long for that to change. In April of 2010, Apple introduced the iPad and it was all up hill from there. Now PixelMags reaches millions of digital readers daily, in over 33 different languages, and represents such publishers as Hearst UK, Crain Communications Inc., Imagine Publishing, Dennis Publishing and more.

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DIGITAL PUBLISHING

Magazine publishers, content distributers, content sellers (in this case, Apple Newsstand) and subscribers make up the “circle of life” that is today’s publishing industry. The consumption of content via mobile devices—in particular, the iPad—is only going to increase exponentially over the next few years.

In just the last two years, PixelMags has grown to one of the largest digital magazine and catalog content distributers in the world. Simply put, they help publishers distribute their branded content, giving readers the ability to enjoy their favorite magazines and catalogs across multiple devices. PixelMags is an authorized developer for Apple iOS devices, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry. They work with many publishers worldwide, including Hearst UK, Imagine Publishing, Dennis Publishing, Factory Media, as well as catalog marketers like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.

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PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY

With the world of subscription-based magazine and newspaper apps often taking a backseat to games, social media and photo apps, PixelMags had to find a way to break through the clutter. Enter Apple Newsstand and iOS 5. One week following the Oct 12 debut of Apple Newsstand, PixelMags saw a 1,150 percent growth increase, going from 2 million readers to over 23 million readers.

Said Ryan Marquis, PixelMags’ founder and COO, “We quickly started to realize just how big of an impact Apple Newsstand was having on our business when on the morning after launch, I received a phone call from our server company wondering if we were under attack. I told them that we were for sure — from all the new iOS 5 users who wanted to download magazines from us.”

At the end of 2011, PixelMags had five out 10 top-grossing Apple Newsstand magazines in the US and six out of 10 top-grossing Apple Newsstand magazines in the UK.