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Entrepreneur: Kevin Mann, 26
Funding: $1.2 million from DFJ Mercury, Starz Media, NorthStar Equity Investors, and others
Comic book fan Kevin Mann saw the chance to bring his hobby into the digital age when he started Graphic.ly in 2009. The company gives comic publishers an online storefront for selling their titles over the Web, and plans to bring its interactive comic store to mobile devices, including Apple's iPhone and iPad and Android-powered phones.
Toughest decision: Releasing Graphic.ly early in its development. The move put the company's engineers under a lot of pressure, but "it was clear that our community was going to be a large part of the company as we grew and it made total sense to us to engage them early in the process," says Mann, founder and chief scientist.