Tencent-backed Wattpad has tied up with Times Bridge to woo more Indian writers and readers

Rappler

  • Wattpad has 70 million users globally, and 2.6 million of them were reportedly in India as of the end of 2018.
  • Wattpad uses machine learning to discover stand-out stories among the over 565 million stories on its platform.
  • The partnership with Times Bridge will help the company boost its presence in India and reach new users.
The Toronto, Canada-based online publishing platform Wattpad has tied up with Times Bridge*, the global investments and partnerships arm of The Times Group, to grow its presence in India and reach new users.

Aside from offering the publishing platform like Amazon and Fictionpress.com, Wattpad has created a community for writers. There are forums and contests to engage with peers around the world. Winners of these contests have been known to find publishers.

"My Life with the Walter Boys" by Ali Novak, "The Kissing Booth" by Beth Reekles, and "Nothing Left to Lose" by Kristy Moresely, found publishers for the paperback versions through Wattpad, according to a review on another online publishing platform Odyssey. Novak’s work, for instance, had 33 million reads even before it got published, according to Amazon. That was the reach of Wattpad in 2014.

Wattpad uses machine learning to discover stand-out stories among the over 565 million stories on its platform, the company said in a statement. In 2018, it also tied up with Sony, online streaming service iflix, TV show producers Huayi Brothers Korea and Bavaria Fiction, and the US cable television channel SYFY to turn many of the stories into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects.

Wattpad has 70 million users globally, and 2.6 million of them were reportedly in India as of the end of 2018. And its founder Allen Lau, an electrical engineer turned entrepreneur, wants more of the Indian pie.

The India outreach will be led by country manager Devashish Sharma, who was part of the founding team at CoHo, one of India’s co-living companies founded in 2015.

Wattpad’s partnership with Times Group, one of the biggest media conglomerates in India, will also be an advantage. “Wattpad is a bold, proven idea that has changed how audiences around the world create and experience stories. Our investment will advance Wattpad’s mission, and original storytelling, across the Indian subcontinent, unlocking the creativity of many millions along the way,” Rishi Jaitly, the CEO of Times Bridge, said.

Times Bridge’s previous investments include Uber, Airbnb, Coursera, Houzz, MUBI and Smule among others.

In January 2018, Wattpad raised $51 million from Chinese investment giant Tencent, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso, and existing investor Raine.

*Times Bridge is also a partner in Business Insider India

See also:
Google will groom these 10 Indian startups that use AI and machine learning

Spotify got a million Indians to try its app in a week — but they will only stay if the price is right

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