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Summary:

Who says paper is worthless in the age of iPad! Moleskine, the favorite notebook of tech people, went public today, and is valued at $626 million. It is a nice windfall for technology investor Index Ventures.

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If you work in technology and still like to take notes, write, draw and imagine, then you are quite familiar with the Moleskine brand. What was once a cool but obscure brand of notebooks has become a product so ubiquitous that you can find it in swag bags for conferences, and venture capital firms hand them out like candy.

In other words, it is very mainstream and very big. And that is why Moleskine went public today on the Milan Stock Exchange. Its shares were priced at 2.30 euros a share. The company raised 245 million euros, or roughly $314 million. It is valued at roughly $626 million. Moleskin had revenues of 78.1 million euros and a profit of about 18.1 million euros in 2012. The stock jumped 3.9 percent today before falling slightly.

Here is a little background on the company from its prospectus:

The company grew out of the experience of Modo&Modo, a small Milanese publisher that in 1997 created the Moleskine trademark, rediscovering and renewing an extraordinary tradition. In the fall of 2006, Modo&Modo was purchased by SGCapital Europe, now Syntegra Capital, with the objective of fully developing the potential of the Moleskine brand. Since 1 January 2007, Moleskine has also become the name of the company that owns the worldwide trademark rights for the brand.  In the fall of 2006, Modo&Modo was purchased by SGCapital Europe, now Syntegra Capital, with the objective of fully developing the potential of the Moleskine brand.

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The IPO is a windfall for Index Ventures, one of the investors in Moleskine. The company is making efforts to cash in on its tech connections. It recently partnered with Evernote for a smart notebook and also has started a community for Moleskine customers. By the way, all the cool kids are now using Field Notes, which is, well, cooler.

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  1. Moved to @Brackin ! Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Some of the more mid to high end chains in the UK are featuring them at checkout. Waterstones, the largest bookshop chain and large news agent chain WHSmith. Which is on every high street, train station, etc.

  2. i think it is all about creating good product and most importantly believing in your product, and then success will follow you later or sooner.

  3. As you’ve noted, they’re working with Evernote now, so they should be valued as a tech company, right?

    Agreed with previous commenters – Moleskine puts out a good product and they’ve done a fantastic job with marketing and distribution. I won’t be buying their shares any time soon, but hats off nonetheless.

  4. Reblogged this on TypicalK – Keep Smiling! and commented:
    I am quite looking forward to getting a moleskine notebook once I fill in my typo notebook completely.

  5. The irony here is that Mokeskine notebooks are far from the best thing out there. As someone who writes and draws a great deal just about every day, I can tell you that as far as the quality of paper goes (and the quality of the writing experience goes with it), there are quite a few better choices out there. And Field Notes is not one of them.

    The Traveler’s notebook, as one example, has incredible paper that takes to pen, pencil, charcoal, or whatever you want to throw at it. Clairfontaine paper (in products from firms like Rhodia) is a touch behind the Japanese paper in the Traveler’s, but is excellent. Stillman & Birn make some definitely excellent notebooks as well. And so on.

    What this proves is that being popular beats everything else – it’s yet another VHS vs Betamax, and I guess that will never end. But I do enjoy feeling smug about knowing what the really good products actually are in this category.

    1. glad somebody said it :) I love Rhodia myself. And I think Moleskine are overpriced for someone who uses a notebook every day… the sizing (not to mention the price-size relation) could use more research too, in my opinion.

  6. Shannon John Clark Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Rhodia does indeed make a great notebook but Field Notes and Moleskins are also fantastic products – but more to the point they are both great businesses with Moleskin in particular doing a fantastic job of getting distribution widely (and clearly backing up that distribution with sales such that retail partners reorder and keep Moleskins in stock.

    A lesson I hope many other businesses take from this success is that there are many ways to compete other than just on price. Moleskins don’t go for the mass market, deepest discount prices. Rather they have always aimed to have a fair price and a better than average quality. Not the most expensive (or perhaps highest possible quality) but very good design and pricing such that everyone involved in the entire retail channel gets a piece and the individual customer not only buys once but frequently buys repeatedly (i.e. the prices aren’t so high as to be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase – they are low enough that for active users of notebooks you can (and frequently do) buy more than one Moleskin.

    I don’t use paper as much as I once did – and yes, I’m one of those “cool kids” with a Field Notes subscription – but even so in the past year I’ve bought more than a couple Moleskins as presents.

  7. richiegreenberg Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Note the IPO is on the Milan Stock Exchange- so the average American investor can’t easily take advantage of the investment unless they have an account , or access to, the Italian markets.

  8. I bought one on a trip to Berlin last week. In the age of the iPad, paper is cool.

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