Nigeria’s TalkingBookz raises funding from Marek Zmyslowski

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Nigerian startup TalkingBookz, a downloadable audiobooks service, has raised seed investment from Marek Zmyslowski, chief executive officer (CEO) of online travel company Jovago.

Disrupt Africa reported in April on the launch of TalkingBookz at the Mobile West Africa event in Nigeria. The startup offers users unlimited downloads of more than 3,000 audiobooks, including many international bestsellers.

The startup, which was one of 30 picked to pitch at the DEMO Africa event in Lagos in September and has also been part of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), received initial seed funding from Swedish angel investor Nicolas Waern, and has now raised a further undisclosed sum from Zmyslowski.

TalkingBookz said the Jovago CEO would bring his extensive experience of the cyber marketplace in order to help the startup grow its revenues.

Co-founder and CEO Kolapo Ogungbile told Disrupt Africa at the time of launch TalkingBookz’s vision was to be the number one publisher and retailer of African-authored audiobooks globally.

“Think iTunes for African classics like “Things Fall Apart”, offering indigenous content to Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.

“The typical TalkingBookz user is one who travels a lot or spends a lot of time commuting. Other uses revolve around lifestyle activities such as exercising, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, and individuals whose jobs involve repetitive manual tasks.”

The TalkingBookz team spent the last year building its business and online platform with support from Passion Incubator in Lagos, but recently moved to the government-funded iDEA Nigeria.

The startup currently has more than 10 categories of books, ranging from Religion, Fiction, Memoirs/Biographies, Business, Management, Self-help, Children’s Literature, and Health and Wellness.

“TalkingBookz seeks to disrupt the traditional book publishing market and redefine how Africans consume books,” said Aransiola Damilola, co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) of TalkingBookz.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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