The funding was led by Khosla Ventures, with Khosla’s Andrew Chung joining the Wattpad board. (In the press release, Chung says the publishing industry has being transformed by mobile and social technology, making it “ripe for digital-native disruption.”) Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang also invested. The startup previously raised a $3.5 million Series A. Previous backers Union Square Ventures and Golden Venture Partners participated in the new round.
On Wattpad, writers can share their novels for free, a chapter at a time, interacting with readers and even taking feedback that shapes the story.
In February, I wrote about the startup’s impressive stats, like the fact that users were collectively spending 1 billion minutes per month on the site. In the four months since, it looks like Wattpad’s growth has, if anything, accelerated. Users are now uploading 500,000 new stories per month, with 5 million already on the site. It claims to have more than 8 million monthly visitors, who now spend 1.7 billion minutes per month on Wattpad. And more than 70 percent of that usage is mobile.
In a blog post announcing the funding, co-founder and CEO Allen Lau outlines some of his bigger vision:
We don’t determine who or what gets published – again, it’s about the network instead of the traditional hierarchy. So, while Wattpad sometimes gets pegged as operating within the traditional publishing industry we are not a publisher. We don’t see ourselves playing in this space at all. Wattpad is actually creating a completely new digital entertainment category, one that hasn’t existed before.
Here’s my favourite example: a traditional publishing house like Penguin published 5000 books in the last 12 months, while Wattpad users uploaded 10,000 stories in just the last 12 hours! We have something for everyone – every sub-genre and every specialized interest. The diversity of human creativity is what makes Wattpad so great.
Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers. It’s the free and fun way to read on the web and across all mobile devices. Everyday millions of people use Wattpad to read unique new fiction or share their own creative writing. For both avid readers and aspiring writers, Wattpad is the best place to discover and share unlimited stories. It’s the only community that offers a mobile, social, eReading experience. Wattpad was founded by Allen Lau and Ivan...
Khosla Ventures is a venture capital firm started in 2004 by Vinod Khosla, Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems. The firm focuses on environmentally friendly technologies in addition to the traditional venture areas such as the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas.
Jerry Yang, a Taiwanese native raised in San Jose, Calif., co-created the Yahoo Internet navigational guide in April 1994 with David Filo and co-founded Yahoo Inc. in April 1995. He was appointed chief executive officer of the company in June 2007, and stepped down in November 2008. Mr. Yang, a leading force in the Internet media industry, has been instrumental in building Yahoo into the world’s most highly trafficked Web site and one of the world’s most recognized brands....