Graphic.ly, a digital content delivery platform and soon-to-launch online community for comics, has raised $1.2 million in its first round of funding. DFJ Mercury, a Houston-based early-stage VC firm, led the round; Starz Media, Northstar Equity Partners and GC&H Investments also participated, with additional funding from a roster of indie investors including Dave McClure, Chris Sacca and Paige Craig.
Graphic.ly will use the new money for tech development, marketing and content partnerships; one of its first projects will be an iPhone app for Disney’s Marvel (NYSE: DIS). (Marvel has launched its own apps, and licensed over 70 of its comics to Comixology, iVerse and Panelfly in October 2009). But the startup’s pitch is that it offers more than just the digital comics; it helps publishers build online communities and sell branded merchandise as well.
Initially founded as TakeComics, Graphic.ly was part of the 2009 class of TechStars, a startup incubation program out of Boulder, Colo. Co-founders Kevin Mann and Thanavanth Jaroenvanit participated in the program; Micah Baldwin, formerly VP of business development at Lijit Networks and a TechStars mentor, has been named CEO. Mann will stay on as Graphic.ly’s chief scientist, while Jaroenvanit will serve as lead developer.