Investing in Fable - Stories for Everyone
Our country is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Before COVID-19, mental health was a public health issue of grave importance. Stress, depression, and anxiety have now been catalyzed by an unprecedented year of self-isolation, mass unemployment, and loss of human life. The American Heart Association reports a 20% increase in anxiety and depression over the past decade and the economic effects are staggering. World Economic Forum reports an estimated $16.3T loss in economic output due to mental health disorders, and Forbes has reported a $190B U.S. healthcare spend due to workplace stress.
At M13, we believe the disruption of existing solutions for mental healthcare is paramount, and we aim to contribute toward solving this crisis by investing in companies that are creating healthy, safe, and effective methods to improve mental wellbeing. This is why we are thrilled to announce our investment in Fable, a mobile service founded by Padmasree Warrior for discovering, curating, and sharing books. Padma is a world-class technologist and operator who has been a leader in and out of the board room. Padma was the CTO of Cisco, CEO of Nio US, and is a current board member of Spotify and Microsoft.
So what do books have to do with mental health? As it turns out, more than you would think.
Reading for just 30 minutes a day has been proven to result in a number of psychological and mental benefits, such as reducing stress, improving sleep, improving empathy, and boosting brainpower, to name a few. And yet, many report that making the time to sit down and crack open a book is in and of itself a challenge. In addition, aspiring readers find that it’s hard to discover great reads let alone share them with friends.
I started Fable so that all of us can fill the micro-moments in our hectic lives with stories. Our mission is to deliver the world’s best social experience with exceptional stories in service of mental wellness. — Padmasree Warrior
Fable is creating a platform for readers to discuss their favorite books and explore new titles while also allowing publishers to promote exclusive content (Fable Originals). Fable is an innovative, interactive social reading app with cultured curation at the core of the experience. Members get access to Fable Folios — collections of books carefully selected by tastemakers and experts, from acclaimed authors to artists to academics to world-class athletes to industry titans. Fable members can create and join virtual Reading Clubs to read together anytime, anywhere, when it suits their schedules. Reading Clubs are the heart of the Fable platform: an invigorating place to enjoy thoughtful prompts and conversations, highlight interesting passages, and share in the joy of reading with friends and colleagues.
Similar to how Twitch and Peloton transformed gaming and fitness from solitary activities into social ones, Fable is enhancing reading into a shared experience that prioritizes mental wellness. Through its tech-enabled platform, Fable can help address the mental health crisis through an accessible, social reading community while building the first digital book club at scale.
We have seen so much innovation in video and music over the past decade, but not as much in reading. Curation is a big part of our product just as Spotify does so well with discovery and personalizing playlists, we seek to do with reading recommendations and de-stigmatizing reading as ‘tough.’ — Padmasree Warrior
We believe Fable is great for consumers and has huge potential as a business, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with the team on creating this meaningful community. To learn more about Fable, listen to our conversation with her on the future of tech, reading, and mental wellness.