Frescano Group was founded by Shadi Bitar and Ninos Malki, who started their first business together in 2003. The two engineering and business students were told that “There is one thing an entrepreneur should never do. Start a publishing company.” But with great drive and hard work they proved the skeptics wrong, and their idea quickly grew from the drawing board into Sweden’s largest independent audiobook publisher.
The work with Earbooks often put Shadi and Ninos into contact with other industries, and thus were sown the seeds to the duo’s next ventures: a new company in the Christmas magazine market, a new service for clubs and school classes to raise money for trips and outings, and a wholesaler for audiobooks. Their drive to find new distribution channels for their first product, led to Shadi and Ninos founding three new and independent companies: Svenska Julförlaget, Vår Bazaar and Ljudboksgruppen.
“The first idea rarely turns out to be the winning concept. You have to keep on testing, trying things out and finding new ways to move your business forward.”
Over the years, both Svenska Julförlaget and Vår Bazaar have developed into independent companies shaped by their specific industries to be leaders in their respective areas. With the evolution of digital media, Ljudboksgruppen, evolved into a new company, Nextory, which offers a subscription service for unlimited reading and listening to e-books and audiobooks via an app. Nextory has received investments from Industrifonden and Aggregate Media among others.
In 2009 Shadi Bitar and Ninos Malki were awarded King Carl XVI Gustaf’s prize Årets Nybyggare. Two years later, Frescano Group was nominated for the award EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
Now Frescano Group comprises four companies: Nextory, Svenska Julförlaget, Vår Bazaar, and Urban Living. Earbooks was acquired by Storytel in 2013.
The numbers that speak for themselves
Earbooks quickly became Sweden’s largest independent audiobook publisher, Svenska Julförlaget became the second largest in their industry in just 3 years, and Nextory shows triple-digit growth after just over a year in the market. Hundreds of thousands of Swedes have used at least one of Frescano’s products in their daily lives.
Frescano Group has offices in Sweden, India, Sri Lanka and Poland. The head office is located in Upplands Väsby, Stockholm.