Mark Ury is the founder and CEO @Storybird. While in college he has built & sold 3 companies. He is a father of 1 and is known to have built products and services for Nike, Starbucks and Apple. Mark puts forth his professional interests in his products, services and brand design, specifically when they are intertwined and ambiguous. His skills range from critical thinking, practical strategy, design empathy, and common sense to prototype and build ideas and opportunities. Personally, he is intrigued by people with a restless mind, especially at the intersection of culture, business, design, and technology.
Executive-level digital creative with extensive UX, visual design, strategy and product experience. Kaye has led large creative and UX teams across multiple continents for global companies—from Nintendo to Citibank to her own startup. She is currently, Head of Retail at Storybird and focuses on e-commerce, print product, artist and community ops. Her skills range from user experience, design and marketing.
Storybird is a publishing platform with a simple conceit: use art to inspire people to write chapter books, picture books, and poetry. In three years, the community has created 15 million stories and read them for several billion minutes. Today, over 5 million members use Storybird at home and in schools and libraries. More than 400k educators use Storybird to inspire writing and reading. Original value proposition at 2.5 million.
The nitty gritty:
The company is adding 15-20k educators and 400k stories per month, both doubling (currently 11 million stories on platform, 25x output of global young adult and children’s publishing companies, combined.) Retention is 65%. Their focus is unbundling a $7 billion industry via an elegant ecommerce model with $0 CAC and $700+ LTVs. They’re targeting $250m ARR in 5 years.
What do I think?:
I like it. I mean, I like the idea of it. I haven’t personally used it myself, however I am a fan of interactive fiction and I believe it has a strong place within K-12 communities. What I mean by this is, writing has to change. And the reasons why we write have to change. We consume information in various ways and enjoy entertainment in various mediums, from games, to movies to music. So when we bring fiction in ways that allow us to interact with it, the medium has elevated itself into a way that allows us to make decisions in where it goes. Many smaller communities and cybercultures use interactive fiction and the medium is growing massively. I see this going places. Take a look at Kentucky Root Zero. The game has won incredible awards and pushes the boundary of interactive fiction. This is only the tip of the iceberg of where we’re going with storytelling and especially transmedia.