Smartphone photo book sensation Once Upon sets out to conquer new markets with Verdane
Verdane, the Northern European specialist growth investor, has announced its investment in Once Upon Publishing AB, the leading app for making and designing photo books on smartphones. Once Upon is based in Skellefteå, Sweden, and operates across Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The company will draw on Verdane’s digital consumer investment experience to support its international expansion and product development. Once Upon reached a turnover of SEK75m in 2020, with closer to 2 million app downloads since launching in 2017.
In addition to Verdane, which brings experience from investing in companies such as Boozt, Desenio, EasyPark and MatHem, Once Upon will continue to be supported by its existing investor Spintop Ventures.
“Many people today are overwhelmed with the number of photos on their phones and are looking for ways to turn them into curated memories and keepsakes. Our easy way to create stylish photo books on-the-go has found a strong following among busy parents who want to eternalise all those special moments but have little time. The Once Upon app guarantees that anyone can create a beautiful book with sleek Scandinavian design in as little as 20 minutes,” says Lina Andersson, CEO at Once Upon.
Once Upon was founded after Lina realised she didn’t have any printed photo memories of her daughter Sally, and felt that the user experience of existing photo printing services was unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming for a busy mother of three. Together with co-founders Johan Schiller and North Kingdom, the digital design agency, Lina set out to build the world’s number one brand for memories.
“We are very happy to welcome Once Upon to the Verdane family. We have been following their journey over the last two years and are impressed by how they have built a fast-growing brand adored by their customers. Equally inspiring is their team, who are obsessed with creating a seamless user experience with a proud Scandinavian footprint. This is exactly the sort of journey that we at Verdane are excited to be a part of, and we look forward to supporting them as they expand to new markets,” says Jakob Tolleryd, Partner at Verdane.
Once Upon is headquartered in Skellefteå, in northern Sweden, and currently has 25 employees, a number the company expects to double in the next 12 months. The company is proud of its Northern heritage and is committed to making Once Upon one of the best workplaces in its region.
“Once Upon has built a strong culture of innovation and co-creation that really stands out. It’s inspiring to see how every team member is empowered to make decisions and the way innovation happens all around the company. It’s been a joy to watch this passionate team evolve, and we’re excited about the things to come,” says Sami Niemi, Partner at Spintop Ventures, who has been an investor in Once Upon since 2019 and also participated in this transaction.