Kickstart Ventures and Tencent jointly invest in Canadian media company Wattpad

Yon Heong Tung
Kickstart Ventures and Tencent jointly invest in Canadian media company Wattpad

This investment is part of Wattpad’s new US$51 million funding round

Wattpad, a Canada-based media entertainment company has raised a US$51 million funding round from Philippines’ Kickstart Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecoms, and Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Other participating investors include BDC, Peterson Group and existing investor Raine. This round brings its total funding to date to US$117.8 million.

Founded in 2006, Wattpad provides a platform for amateur writers to upload original written stories, showcase them to readers on its community, as well as monetise from their works. The platform has a second storytelling product called Tap, which offers stories in a short, chat-like format.

Wattpad also provides analysis tools that track content trends, identify stories best suited for adaptation, recommend readers stories based on their reading habits, and help writers understand how readers engage with their work.

Beyond that, Wattpad has a studio that co-produces stories for film, television, digital and print together with industry partners, such as Universal Cable Productions (UCP), a division of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, and publishing house HarperCollins. The company also has an advertising arm to help brands engage with younger media consumers.

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Wattpad claims that over 65 million people have engaged with its content, and story uploads are now over 400 million. Its Tap platform has over 300,000 stories available.

With the fresh round of funding, Wattpad will be able to enhance its machine learning and interactive media tools. It will also use the money to expand to new markets and employ new talents.

“The Philippines is one of Wattpad’s top three countries for the size of its community (of readers and writers) and for its engagement: there have been print books, tv shows, and video advertising built upon content first created for and published in Wattpad,” said Kickstart president Minette Navarrete, in a response to e27‘s query on the VC’s participation in the round.

“Our parent company, Globe Telecom, has always been an enthusiastic supporter of Wattpad, seeing it as relevant and exciting entertainment for Globe subscribers,” he said.

“Equally, our affiliate digital advertising company, AdSpark, can help brands and companies use Wattpad content to reach their target market, reinforce brand messages and positioning, and simply be present to their target audience in a way that is organic, interesting, and authentic. Already, we’ve seen at least one award-winning ad campaign built upon a story and characters from a Wattpad story!​”​

Image Credit: Wattpad

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