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Creator-first digital publishing platform Zestworld raises $9.3M growth capital

Comic Books

Creator-first digital publishing platform Zestworld raises $9.3M growth capital

Zestworld will provide comic creators a centralized platform that combines business, community management, digital publishing, and more.

Press Release

Launched in November, Zestworld has announced it has raised $9.37M in growth capital to help launch its platform. The digital platform is made for creators and the idiosyncrasies of the comics format to help focus on business, community management, digital publishing, NFTs, metaverse events, and IP rights management.

Zestworld has a treasure trove of creators working already which includes Michael Moreci, Eric Canete, Amanda Conner, Phil Jimenez, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Segura, and Peter Tomasi. Creators on the platform can communicate with their audience through comic-optimized digital newsletters as well as keep full IP rights to their content with Zestworld’s IP management tool.

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Could Zestworld be the digital comics experience ComiXology aims to be? Given Comixology’s woes with their platform moving to Amazon.com, the industry certainly could use some competition to mix things up.

The growth capital was led by General Catalyst, with participation from Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Polygon Technology, former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown Philpot, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and Twitch founder Kevin Lin. The Series A funding will allow Zestworld to provide the best toolkit for comic creators to build a successful independent business.

Readers can look forward to a variety of comics from Zestworld’s initial roster of top-tier talent. Upcoming titles include:

  • ARC ATHENA by Eric Canete – “Neon Gods” to their adoring public, ARC ATHENA is the super powered team that the world is desperate for. Curated by the global tech and entertainment giant known as ARC, each member represents the most aspirational hero that public polling data can provide. Athena’s roster consists of characters whose powers are bombastically perfect for their obsessed audience but yield very low stopping force- everything is for “The Show.”
  • THE AWAKENED by Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, Dean Kotz, Jason Wordie – A dark, noir-ish superhero murder mystery that explores what the true definition of power is, and who should wield it.
Creator-first digital publishing platform Zestworld raises $9.3M growth capital

A page from ‘The Awakened’ courtesy of Zestworld.

  • BLOOD TREE by Peter J. Tomasi, Maxim Šimić, John Kalisz, Rob Leigh – Follows two obsessed NYPD detectives on the hunt for a vicious butcher called the Angel Killer, a sociopath who preys on the innocent family members of known murderers in order to “purify” the rest of society.
  • BOOM POW! by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti – An immortal is awakened from her eons-long slumber by the doughnut-slinging daughter of a nuclear physicist. Together, BOOTY POW POW and KAY BOOM take on the modern world in their own unique and special way.
  • FOUND by Jimmy Palmiotti, Juan Santacruz, Alex Sinclair – On a deserted island in the middle of the pacific, a volcano erupts and expels an alien object that has potential to change the world. When this event is shared live by the family of scientists already on the scene, global governments see the potential of owning the technology and scramble to see who can get to the object first.

Creator-first digital publishing platform Zestworld raises $9.3M growth capital

  • OTHERWORLDS by Phil Jimenez – A reimagining of the Eisner-nominated Otherworld series, a sci-fi/fantasy epic about a war in another dimension, OTHERWORLDS tackles themes of family, identity, faith, and purpose, exploring whose voices will rise to shape the future and create the Earth anew, and how we all navigate a world where being “great” so rarely means being “good.”

It’s worth noting NFTs traditionally require an enormous amount of electricity and resources. It’s not yet clear if Zestworld will be using what some companies call an “environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient” approach to the NFT marketplace.

Creator-first digital publishing platform Zestworld raises $9.3M growth capital

For more on this news read the official press release below.

NEW YORK, NY – March 21, 2022 – Zestworld, a creator-first digital publishing platform focused solely on comic creators, today announced it has raised $9.37M in growth capital to fracture the Marvel and DC duopoly by providing top-tier comic creators a centralized platform that combines business, community management, digital publishing, NFTs, metaverse events and IP rights management. Zestworld’s platform provides a fully stacked product tailored to the idiosyncrasies of the comics format and industry.

The round was led by General Catalyst, with participation from Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Polygon Technology, former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown Philpot, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and Twitch founder Kevin Lin. The Series A funding will allow Zestworld to provide the best toolkit for comic creators to build a successful independent business.

“The current landscape for comic creators to publish their work digitally and connect with fans is abysmal,” said Alexis Ohanian, Founder, Seven Seven Six. “Zestworld is bringing together every aspect of the comic creator business and community into one centralized platform that is disrupting how comic creators publish and own IP, as well as enabling fans to connect with creators directly in entirely novel ways.”

The Awakened is a superhero murder mystery from writers Alex Segura and Michael Moreci, artist Dean Kotz, and colorist Jason Wordie.

“In recent years, the comic book industry has boomed, producing global hits on a scale unprecedented in the history of entertainment,” said Chris Giliberti, Co-Founder and CEO of Zestworld. “Contrast this enormous popularity and franchise value with the livelihood of the creators who invented the beloved characters that dominate our culture. It’s time we equip this community with its own dedicated platform specifically tailored to the comics medium and its fans.”

This funding round allows Zestworld to launch the ultimate platform for comic creators to build their business and manage their community. Looking forward, Zestworld plans to continue building its platform and explore additional ways creators can express themselves and engage with fans.

Zestworld’s launch lineup includes comic veterans such as Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter J. Tomasi, Eric Canete, Phil Jimenez and Alex Segura. Creators on the platform are able to directly reach their audience through comic-optimized digital newsletters on their own schedule, without having to work against everchanging algorithms or potential shadowbanning that creators often face on other platforms. Additionally, creators will keep full IP rights to their content with Zestworld’s IP management tool.

“Finding platforms that are creator-driven is a true challenge in comics, and what Zestworld offers is refreshing and transparent,” said Alex Segura. “Zestworld allows creators like me to publish my work on my own schedule, customize benefits and the ways the creative team and I get to interact with my audience, and allows us to maintain full IP-rights ownership to everything we publish through the platform. It’s a hard deal to beat.”

Readers can look forward to a variety of comics from Zestworld’s initial roster of top-tier talent. Upcoming titles include:

  • ARC ATHENA by Eric Canete – “Neon Gods” to their adoring public, ARC ATHENA is the super powered team that the world is desperate for. Curated by the global tech and entertainment giant known as ARC, each member represents the most aspirational hero that public polling data can provide. Athena’s roster consists of characters whose powers are bombastically perfect for their obsessed audience but yield very low stopping force- everything is for “The Show.”

  • THE AWAKENED by Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, Dean Kotz, Jason Wordie – A dark, noir-ish superhero murder mystery that explores what the true definition of power is, and who should wield it.

  • BLOOD TREE by Peter J. Tomasi, Maxim Šimić, John Kalisz, Rob Leigh – Follows two obsessed NYPD detectives on the hunt for a vicious butcher called the Angel Killer, a sociopath who preys on the innocent family members of known murderers in order to “purify” the rest of society.

  • BOOM POW! by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti – An immortal is awakened from her eons-long slumber by the doughnut-slinging daughter of a nuclear physicist. Together, BOOTY POW POW and KAY BOOM take on the modern world in their own unique and special way.

  • FOUND by Jimmy Palmiotti, Juan Santacruz, Alex Sinclair – On a deserted island in the middle of the pacific, a volcano erupts and expels an alien object that has potential to change the world. When this event is shared live by the family of scientists already on the scene, global governments see the potential of owning the technology and scramble to see who can get to the object first.

  • OTHERWORLDS by Phil Jimenez – A reimagining of the Eisner-nominated Otherworld series, a sci-fi/fantasy epic about a war in another dimension, OTHERWORLDS tackles themes of family, identity, faith, and purpose, exploring whose voices will rise to shape the future and create the Earth anew, and how we all navigate a world where being “great” so rarely means being “good.”

Zestworld, which is engineering the best of the comic con experience online, empowers fans to interact with creators directly in an array of ways, including private livestreams, exclusive discord communities, access to behind-the-scenes opportunities and the ability to commission art from their favorite artist directly.

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