Kobo Reveals Last Month’s Funding Round: $50 Million

Borders-backed e-books seller Kobo has disclosed the amount of the funding it raised last month and it’s pretty huge: $50 million. It also says it raised $13 million from existing investors, but it still won’t say who led the round, identifying it only as a “major institutional investor.”
The announcement follows Kobo’s European expansion last week, which includes plans to launch local content stores in Germany, which it identified as the largest book market outside of the U.S. A Spanish starting in May 2011. Local stores for France, Italy and the Netherlands will follow this summer – an industry first.
Kobo has also secured placement on the just-released BlackBerry PlayBook as a pre-loaded app on devices in the U.S. and Canada.
All the news is intended to show that Kobo, which has been closely aligned with Borders, is not dependent on the bankrupt book chain and that it can move forward on its own. Still, given the competition from Amazon’s Kindle, not to mention the Sony (NYSE: SNE) eReader and Barnes & Noble’s Nook line, Kobo has enormous challenges in capturing greater market share. That said, $50 million can go a long way to supporting a young company. It also doesn’t hurt to have a vote of confidence from Blackberry, which is also trying to carve a niche in a world being crowded with iPhone and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android-based devices.