August 2, 2011, 1:04 PM

CampusBookRentals.com reels in $20 million

The Second 500 retailer will use the new funds to expand its staff and add inventory.

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CampusBookRentals Inc. has snagged a hefty chunk of new financing. With the $20 million investment, led by Level Equity, Five Elms Capital and Cherokee & Walker, the online textbook rental company says it plans to add staff and expand its inventory.

“We’ve had an extremely flattering, if not somewhat overwhelming, amount of interest in the business with approaches from numerous financial and strategic investors,” says CampusBookRentals.com CEO Alan Martin, who launched the business in his basement in 2007. “We chose to bring on an equity partner and further develop our financing relationships to meet the incredible demand we are seeing in our market.”

Ben Levin, a founder of Level Equity, says he was attracted to the retailer’s consistent profitability and unique and efficient business model.

“Alan and his team have quietly captured significant market share in the textbook rental market with a simple formula of providing students the cheapest textbook alternative and relentlessly focusing on customer service,” Levin says.  “Alan is a business model and product innovator in the large and rapidly evolving market for physical and digital texts and supplemental content which represents the second-largest expense to tuition for millions of college students.”

CampusBookRentals.com, No. 666 in the newly released Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, rents textbooks online to students at 5,600 college campuses. The retailer recently moved to a new 57,000-square-foot facility and added Scott Klossner, chief operating officer at Backcountry.com Inc., to its board of directors. Backcountry.com is a unit of Liberty Media Corp., No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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