Penguin Random House was the lead investor in a new round of funding for Rebel Girls, the media company whose mission is to instill confidence in girls. The round raised $8 million, and came about one year after Rebel Girls raised $13 million and shortly after DK, a PRH subsidiary, inked a distribution deal with the company.
In addition to PRH, other investors include Common Sense Growth, the nonprofit aimed at making the digital world safer for kids; women CEOs Asma Ishaq, Jenny Zhu, and Jocelyn Mangan; philanthropist Melissa Kushner; rock star Joan Jett and her company Blackheart; and entertainment executive Stephanie Sperber.
Rebel Girls said it will use the new financing to scale its content across publishing, audio, and entertainment, and will hire a chief content officer to help achieve that goal. The organization expects to more than double the number of titles it publishes, create original audio series, and develop content across television and digital channels while also entering new genres and platforms, including fictional storytelling and the metaverse.
Following PRH’s investment, Paul Kelly, co-CEO of DK, will join the Rebel Girls board of directors. “This is an exciting time for the company as they increase their investment in books and content that will tell more stories and reach broader audiences,” Kelly said in a statement. “Their passion and commitment to creating a better world makes them a perfect partner for us.”
Rebel Girls chairwoman and CEO Jes Wolfe said the new funding will be used to help the organization reach 50 million girls by 2025. Rebel Girls estimated its stories have reached nearly 25 million girls to date. “We are thrilled to have Penguin Random House, Common Sense, and this incredible circle of inspiring women join us on our journey,” Wolfe said.
Rebel Girls was founded in 2016 by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli to publish the illustrated children’s book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. Since the launch, Rebel Girls has branched out into multiple formats and platforms.
The Rebel Girls cofounders were named PW Star Watch Superstars in 2018. Since then, Cavallo has split off from the brand, going on to launch her own children's media company, Undercats, Inc.