The Luxembourg Investment fund Expon Capital reacted to the announcement of the acquisition of the French startup Glose via… Medium. We got the reaction from Jerome Wittamer, one of the co-founders of the Venture Capital fund.
Photo: One of Expon Capital’s Managing Partners knew Nicolas Princen before he co-founded Glose. This is the 3rd exit for the Expon I fund in 2020 / Credits © Glose
This is the first acquisition of the digital publishing giant outside the United States. Medium and its founder Evan Williams – also known for having co-founded Twitter – have set their sights on the French startup with 170 million monthly visitors, Glose.
The end of the year was busy for the Luxembourg VC. Between the multiplication of investments for the Digital Tech Fund for which he is in charge, the team is leading the portfolio of its Expon I fund targeting exponential firms fund. We were able to find well-known names such as Glovo, Dott, Spire and of course Glose in which the fund has invested in 2017. “The end of the year is always about period of exits and closings. We didn’t really take a break at the end of the year. We signed several deals until December 31,” said Jérôme Wittamer. “There is a little more liquidity in Expon I even though we started after the DTF. It’s not the same company profile. We have more choice. These are companies that have more depth in terms of technology. In Luxembourg, it’s a bit rarer.”
And this beginning of the year lifted the veil on the first major tech acquisition of the year in which the VC fund is part of. European tech seems really valuable at the moment. “Let’s be realistic, the Americans know how to buy and value. For Medium, the acquisition of Glose is totally strategic,” confirms Expon Capital’s co-founder.
Glose is the kind of company that needed a lot more resources and capabilities to be able to achieve more. While planning a new fundraising, the startup finally opted for an exit and mutual growth.
How did the Luxembourg fund find itself at the heart of this deal in the last quarter? “We knew Nicolas from before Glose, when he was at the Elysée and the first digital officer in France at the time he organized the e-G8 Forum,” unveils Wittamer. “He’s a pretty fabulous person. We invested at a time when he wasn’t raising money because we really liked his story and his vision. It was a good fit with our values and we saw what Glose could become.”
The investment allowed Nicolas Princen to develop Glose Education that didn’t exist at that time. Expon Capital invested in the vision, clearly. “Nicolas’ goal is to create the free Alexandria Library for children. All the greatest masterpieces of literature are available free of charge. It’s unique in the world,” emphasizes Jerome. How to make the world a better place through the dissemination of knowledge and to go deep, to the end of things. Only books (the long form) can offer this. The book had to be reinvented even if it’s the same format since Guttenberg. Glose Education started from the assumption that young people have their smartphones 24/7 and that we can’t take them away. The question then arises to how do we put a book in their hands ? The experience of the smartphone is much more powerful than that of a book, because it is above all a communication tool with which you can do a lot of things.
Glose is the Reading 2.0 application that improves reading by allowing you to discover, read, highlight the passages of thousands of (digital) books and interact with a community of readers and writers. Glose’s mission is to make reading more fun, social, open to the world and enjoyable on all digital media to help people read more. From classic literature to contemporary essays and the latest bestsellers, the library offers a wide range of reading options with more than a million books published by the world’s leading publishers.
“At the time we invested, he had also launched a new generation writing courses in the form of text conversations (or “chats”): Chat Stories. That was already an impressive success,” concludes Jerome Wittamer. This is the second deal for Expon with one of Twitter’s co-founders, just shortly after they sold Verse to Square (owned by Jack Dorsey). Never two without three?