In a rare boost for an e-publisher, Knovel, which publishes online technical reference databases, announced that it has received $3 million in financing from a group of investors, led by $1.5 million from Himalaya Capital Ventures. Other investors in the group include Milestone Venture Partners, Stonehenge Capital and Silicon Alley Venture partners. Representatives of Himalaya and Milestone will join Knovel's board of directors.

Christopher Forbes, CEO of Knovel, said Knovel is doing well in a tough economy. "Our sales are up fourfold over last year; we're always looking to offer new products. And our price points are holding because we offer corporations a way to save time and money." Knovel's customer base is about "70% corporate and 30% academic—from MIT and Stanford to General Motors and General Electric."

The company currently employs about 29 people and will add staff in its development, sales and administrative units. "Most of the new funding will go into building our sales and marketing efforts," Forbes said. "We've had success, we just need more customers." Forbes said the new round of investment is a "testament to the significance of Knovel's product."

Using proprietary technology, Knovel offers online subscription access to highly technical, scientific and engineering reference content in digital format ( Its content partners include McGraw-Hill, CRC Press and Reed Elsevier.