Wattpad raises $61.25 million in financing round led by Tencent Holdings

January 17, 2018

Storytelling platform Wattpad has reaised USD $51 million ($CAD $61.25 million) in new funding from investors including Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading provider of Internet value added services in China, BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso, and existing investor Raine.

Wattpad says the new funding will support continued investment in machine learning and interactive storytelling, expanding the company’s global entertainment footprint in TV, film, digital media, and publishing as it adapts Wattpad stories for new formats, and other innovations. The company also plans to grow its team across all departments.

“Entertainment is in a period of disruption, and how people find and experience stories is evolving,” said a statement from Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder, Wattpad. “With our global community of users, hundreds of millions of stories and data-driven approach to helping people and partners find great content, Wattpad is leading both sides of this equation. We empower diverse storytellers all over the world, helping them build a community of passionate readers; at the same time, we also connect Hollywood with stories that have massive built-in audiences. This new funding from Tencent and our other investors shows that confidence in our vision is growing alongside our revenue, our success and our community.”

“Wattpad has built a creative community for storytellers and story lovers,” said a statement from Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings Limited. “The company is providing opportunities to new and established writers, transforming how entertainment is discovered and produced. We are glad to support Wattpad, a leader in digitizing and data enhancing the entertainment industry.”

Wattpad said its global community grew by more than 40 percent in 2017, and is now made up of more than 65 million people around the world. Story uploads climbed to more than 400 million. The company’s investments in machine learning have enhanced its personalization and recommendation systems for readers, increasing reading times for more engagement; similar story analysis tools are helping Wattpad writers build audiences and monetize their work. Wattpad’s work in machine learning, deep learning and recurrent neural networks have also enhanced its ability to discover stories for adaptation and content trends that are now used across the entertainment industry.

Read more at BetaKit.

LaBarge Weinstein acted as counsel to Wattpad with a team including James Smith, Kyle Lavender and Mindy Boparai.

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