Mammoth Media raises $13M

Mammoth Media has raised a $13 million Series A funding to create what it calls “entertainment experiences for the mobile-first generation.”

The funding was led by Greylock Partners, with participation from Science Inc., the venture studio where Mammoth was incubated. Greylock’s Josh Elman wrote that he’ll be joining the Mammoth board, and he noted that this is his first investment in Los Angeles.

Mammoth made the Wishbone app, where users can vote on polls like “Who’s cuter?”

Mammoth also created Yarn, one of the apps delivering fiction in a text message format. The company says that the average Yarn subscriber (pricing starts at $2.99 per week) spends 50 minutes reading in the first week. According to App Annie, Yarn has been the number one books app in a number of countries, including the United States.

The app recently launched Hack’d, a horror series featuring star Kristen Hancher. Co-founder and CEO Benoit Vatere said we can expect to see more series starring social media influencers — after spotting reaction videos to Yarn content, his team thought, “Why not, instead of having them react to the story, have them in the story itself?”

Besides subscriptions, Yarn also makes money from sponsorships — it’s announcing a partnership with Skype, resulting in three stories that “highlight Skype’s communication features.”

Vatere plans to launch new apps. The idea is to continue experimenting with new formats, which means some of the apps probably won’t take off, but he’s hoping to launch “one very successful experience” each year. This also requires a sustainable and repeatable model for building audiences.

“Virality is key to helping growth, but virality cannot sustain a business,” Vatere said. “You have to be able to do user acquisition properly … You need to understand how much you can afford per user. We have the engine that tells us that.”

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