Le Kiosk raising €5.6 million to make bundled tablet mags social

Earlier this summer, I wrote about Le Kiosk, a French start-up trying to bring an a la carte tablet magazine subscription buffet to the UK, France and Italy.

Now Le Kiosk is taking a €5.6 million ($7.1 million) second-round investment to add social features and Windows 8 apps for its system, and to expand to more countries.

Currently operating in France and — since June — the UK, Le Kiosk charges £10 or £10 per month for access to a 10-title magazine bundle. Co-founder Michael Philippe tells me Le Kiosk:

“We have had over 700,000 downloads of our app, there are around 30,000 subscribers to our 10-magazine bundle and we have 100,000 paying active users on the platform. We had €1.4 million revenue last year – and around €6 million this year.”

Now Le Kiosk is getting the Italian launch Philippe promised earlier. And Philippe says the company needed to take money “to fuel our growth and global expansion and to invest in product development”.

Specifically, Le Kiosk, which is currently on iOS and Android, wants to build a Windows 8 version, wants to develop methods to make its magazine portfolio more readable on smaller, 7-inch phablets, wants to get more publishers aboard and wants to socialise the titles.

“Putting social interactions in to our app is our main development for next year,” Philippe said. “We need to go further and bring interactivity, interactions between our readers. We are also working on new ways to read the text on smaller screens.”

Le Kiosk as the current buzzphrase goes, “skeumorphic” — which is to say, the app UI mimics a French sidewalk newsstand

The new money is coming from two French investors — CM-CIC Capital Privé, which has previously backed Deezer and Spartoo, and the government-backed CDC Entreprises.

Although Le Kiosk claims titles from all major French publishers, that is not the case in the UK.

“The goal is to secure all the major publishers,” Philippe concedes. “In the UK, it is important to improve the bundle. We still don’t have all the publishers in the bundle.”

Philippe reckons Le Kiosk’s benefit is encouraging discovery in a market whose consumers are often fiercely locked to their favourite titles.

“Eighty-five percent of subscribers are subscribing to magazines they would never had  read in paper or digital without the bundle,” Philippe says.

It is, as the current buzzphrase goes, “skeumorphic” — which is to say, the app UI mimics a French sidewalk newsstand