KINGSTON, Jamaica – Pitch Room winner, publisher Kellie Magnus, wants to capitalize her children’s publishing company, Jackmandora, with $200,000 USD ($21 million JMD) for a 30 percent share in her company.
The publisher of the popular “Little Lion” storybook series aims to branch out into textbooks in an effort to snag a slice of the over $2 billion in annual textbook contracts awarded by government.
“We can’t find high quality entertaining textbooks and media for kids,” she opined to the judges at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) 2014 Venture Capital Pitch Room. “I want to create a Disney-type publishing company for the Caribbean.”
Magnus told the judges that some 25 copyrights have already been secured.
The most notable copyright relates to the Little Lion series, which depicts a tam-wearing boy engaged in sporting adventures.
The series was illustrated by Michael Robinson, written by Magnus and printed by Media Magic Company Limited which trades as Jackmandora.
She later told the Observer that within the catalog are also unpublished works, which would form the revenue base of the company. The capital would allow her to finance printing thousands of copies upon award of a contract.
“But we do not have the capital to get what we need now, that is why I am seeking funding,” she told the judges.
“I will have to continue seeking financing,” she told the Observer following her win.
She indicated that the return on investment could occur within a year from one textbook contract.
“One textbook contract can recoup the money,” she said, valuing that contract at $60 million. “This is attainable.”
The profit margin on each book ranges between 30 to 60 per cent, she said.
Magnus was “unanimously” adjudged the winner from a group that was surprisingly void of technology startups.
Second place went to Instant Save Conservation Solutions pitched by “The Deck” lounge owner Richard Spence and daughter Leeanne Spence, who aim to raise $10 million for 51 percent equity in distributing bathroom solutions that slash water bills in half.
Magnus was one of five who presented in the pitch room, narrowed down from 19 applicants. She won $300,000 from Scotiabank for her effort.
Other finalists included Insight Financial Services, which was pitched by co-founder Julian Patrick and which offers quick loans to professions with a loan portfolio growing at 9 percent monthly.
Microgen Labs, pitched by founder Anthony Jones, is seeking $120,000 USD to build and operate a food-testing lab, while Amergen Food-Processing, a St Elizabeth-based sauces company, pitched by founder Jennifer Stephenson, is seeking $3 million to set up a processing line.
Judges included JSE deputy general manager Robin Levy; Omar Spence marketing manager at Scotia Group Jamaica, and Janine Taylor manager of Thing Jamaican at Jamaica Business Development Centre.
Respected investor Sushil Jain chaired the session.
The Venture Capital Pitch Room was the final session at the Ninth Annual JSE Investments & Capital Markets Conference 2014 held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.