Wattpad, a Toronto-based storytelling platform owned by Naver’s Webtoon Entertainment, confirmed it laid off around 20 staff, or less than 10% of its workforce, according to a spokesperson of Wattpad.
The outfit recently reorganized a number of teams and now it has a total of 200 employees, the spokesperson told TechCrunch.
The move is part of the company’s restructuring plan aimed at reducing costs as its LA-based parent company seeks to improve its finances ahead of an initial public offering in the U.S. as early as 2025, a source familiar with the situation said. Webtoon Entertainment has three storytelling subsidiaries: Wattpad in Toronto, Naver Webtoon in Seoul and Line Digital Frontier in Tokyo.
This is the company’s second round of layoffs. Wattpad laid off 42 of its 267 workforce, or 15% of the staff, in March 2023.
Earlier this week, local media outlets, including The Korea Economic Daily, reported that the cut impacted about 30 employees, or roughly 15% of its workforce.
Last October, Wattpad launched a new freemium model, “Wattpad Originals,” allowing writers to hide certain chapters behind a paywall and allowing readers to access free content and try before they buy. Most recently, the company began offering “Premium Picks,” which gives Premium and Premium+ subscribers monthly access to five free Wattpad Originals.
In 2021, Naver acquired Wattpad, founded by Allen Lau in 2006, for $600 million to incorporate the storytelling platform into its publishing division.
This article has been updated with comments from Wattpad.