£500k investment for xigxag

xigxag co-founders Mark Chaplin and Kelli Fairbrother

Award-winning audiobook platform xigxag has secured a £500k equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger £1 million funding round.

The funding round was led by the FSE Group, the appointed fund manager for CIOSIF, and includes a number of private angel investors and a successful crowdfunding campaign on the Seedrs platform.

The funding will enable the company, based in Gunnislake, to expand the capacity of its development team and broaden its marketing channels with the recruitment of 17 team members over the next three years.

xigxag was recently voted Best New Business in the 2022 Cornwall Business Awards.

xigxag aims to shape the future of books with the world’s most accessible, engaging and sustainable listen-and-read platform. It has a technologically advanced content platform, powering a market-leading mobile app. AI-enabled technology integrates human-voice-narrated audiobooks and ebooks in an exclusive new format called the x-book.

Users can listen to a book being read by the author then switch to reading it on their device, picking up the story in the same place and with the added features of being able to see illustrations, search in the text, look up words, take notes and share quotes.

Customers have access to over 40,000 titles from 15 publishers on the xigxag app. Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Bonnier are among the publishers on board with more in the pipeline and plans for US expansion already underway. The xigxag app has been downloaded more than 40,000 times and the company won the Tech Nation Rising Stars award for 2022.

Kelli Fairbrother, CEO at xigxag, said: “xigxag is riding a massive global audio trend to power an exciting new listen-and-read experience in a space where digital books haven’t really been innovated in decades. Our revolutionary app makes reading more flexible, engaging and accessible, while also providing a far more sustainable alternative to physical book publishing and distribution.

“Being an eco-conscious company is something we are incredibly proud of and we are delighted to be one of the many Cornish businesses that are facilitating the change to a greener lifestyle.”

Meg Salt, investment manager at The FSE Group, added: “xigxag is in an excellent position within a vibrant sector. Their product is easily scalable and presents real scope for accelerated growth in the near future.”

The £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25k to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).