VCs Plow $46 Million More Into Writing Community Wattpad
“We want to become a billion-user company,” said Wattpad CEO Allen Lau. “There are five billion people who can read and write on this planet, so a billion users is totally achievable.”
Well, a billion is still well in the distance, but Wattpad is currently at 25 million monthly users, who write 150,000 stories per day. The growth and loyalty of its readers and writers have enticed venture capitalists to invest another $46 million into the company, which has now raised a total of $67 million.
Last time Wattpad raised money, about two years ago, it had eight million users. Since then, it’s also grown from 15 employees to 70, all based in Toronto.
The site is home to all sorts of stories, many of them told in installments, including lots of romance, fantasy, sci-fi and fan fiction.
One interesting note is that 85 percent of Wattpad usage is now coming from mobile devices. As expected, that’s mostly time spent reading, but Lau said a surprising number of authors write from their mobile devices as well.
The new funding came from OMERS Ventures, August Capital, Raine Ventures, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, Union Square Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Jerry Yang, Golden Venture Partners and Boris Wertz.
Amazingly, August Capital partner David Hornik wrote a loosely fictionalized version of getting pitched by Wattpad — on Wattpad. It’s great fun for the digs at himself and his less-than-on-time VC partners.
As for a Wattpad business model, Lau is unconcerned. “Our main focus is on user growth,” he said. “All our numbers are growing, hockey-stick style.” Today Wattpad has some limited advertising; down the line there may be paid products and native advertising, Lau said.