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August 10, 2009

VC Firm, Kohlberg Ventures Invests $2.5 Million in Akademos

Filed under: Venture Capital News — admin @ 5:14 am

Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, a leading online college textbook store, announced today that it had received $2.5 million in venture funding from Kohlberg Ventures. Along with this venture funding, Akademos also announced the appointment of two new people onto its board of directors. The first person to be appointed was eHarmony’s marketing executive, Scott Eagle; and seasoned Silicon Valley tech veteran, Bill Youstra, who will bring the company extensive experience.

At eHarmony, Mr. Eagle currently serves as the company’s CMO and is in charge of all of eHarmony’s marketing operations. Mr. Eagle also has deep experience in marketing and customer acquisition in which he has gained while working for various Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Eagle graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics.

Besides being a tech veteran from Silicon Valley, Mr. Youstra is also a venture partner at Kohlberg Ventures. Mr. Youstra has deep experience in helping startup companies in the mobile, virtual worlds, e-commerce, and media/marketing industries. Before becoming a venture partner with Kohlberg Ventures, Mr. Youstra worked at AOL, where he was in charge of products and content. During his tenure at AOL, Mr. Youstra was able to get AOL to grow from 500,000 customers to over 20 million. Mr. Youstra graduated from Stanford University with a Masters Degree in Business Administration and an MA in Education, then he went on to study at the University of Maryland, where he received degrees in Film, Computer Science, and Marketing.

Akademos is an online service that links online bookstores to colleges and universities throughout the United States and the main benefit that Akademos offers educational institutions is its turnkey function, linking them to online bookstores, and reducing the operational costs of running a campus bookstore.

According to the managing director of Kohlberg Ventures, Jim Kohlberg, the online bookstore is changing the way college students are getting the required textbooks needed for their courses. In the past, the campus bookstore was the major and sometimes only source for textbooks, but with the online bookstores, students are able to get on their computer, go online, and be able to find the textbooks they need for a lot cheaper. Furthermore, Akademos has streamlined the online book shopping experience and presents a good opportunity for Kohlberg Ventures.

According to Akademos’s CEO, Brian Jacobs, the team at Akademos is thrilled to have Kohlberg Ventures supporting the company. Furthermore, Akademos is undergoing a massive market change since more and more brick and mortar bookstores are going online, this partnership with Kohlberg Ventures along with Mr. Eagle and Mr. Youstra joining the company’s board of directors will provide Akademos with access to valuable experience and help as the company grows.

Kohlberg Ventures is a vc firm that mainly invests in early stage companies who are in the digital media, clean tech, and consumer products industries. Kohlberg cares about the customers of its partner companies’ customers and invests in entrepreneurs who have unique solutions to serve their customers. Kohlberg is interested in what customers will buy, how much they will buy, and how much they are willing to pay for. Kohlberg Ventures is an active investor but portray themselves as not being intrusive and recognize where they can help and where they cannot. Other companies in Kohlberg’s portfolio include Blue Bottle Coffee, Lookery, Silicon Alley Insider, Socialmedian, Wordlock, Clear Edge Power, and others.

For more information about Akademos, click here.


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