Wattpad Raises $51 Million in Funding from Tencent, BDC and Other Partners

New funding will be used to expand the company’s global entertainment footprint and machine learning capabilities

TORONTO - Jan. 17, 2018 - Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, today announced USD $51 million (CAD $61.25 million) in new funding. Investors include 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. 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.  

The global Wattpad 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.   

Wattpad has major TV, film and digital video partnerships with Universal Cable Productions (UCP), a division of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, eOne, CW Seed and others. The company works with publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Hachette Audio and Hachette Romans. Hundreds of Wattpad stories have been published as traditional books--many as best-sellers--and dozens have been adapted or licensed for TV, film and digital video, appearing on screens around the world.  

In 2017, Wattpad launched Tap by Wattpad, an immersive storytelling experience that delivers short, conversational-style narratives. Tap offers interactive entertainment experiences that digital natives love, using a chat-style format, combined with multimedia innovations designed specifically for Tap Originals. Since launch, users all over the world have devoured Tap stories, with more than 3 billion taps to date on over 300,000 stories available.

Wattpad has raised USD $117.8 million from international investors in Asia, the US, and Canada. Previous investors include OMERS Ventures, August Capital, Union Square Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund and Version One Ventures.


“Entertainment is in a period of disruption, and how people find and experience stories is evolving,” said 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 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 is the future of entertainment,” said Peter Misek, Partner, BDC’s IT Venture Fund. “By harnessing the power of verticalized data and AI, Wattpad has unlocked the true value of content creation, enabling discovery, production and distribution in exponentially new ways. The future can be found on Wattpad.”

“Wattpad has developed something truly special: a community that cares deeply about stories of authentic human experiences, a technology platform that unlocks the universal desire to share those stories and connect with other people, and a data set that enhances the value of these shared stories for writers and readers alike,” said Minette Navarrete, President, Kickstart Ventures. “We’re proud to join Wattpad as an investor, helping expand its vision to entertain and connect the world through stories.”


Killer Clowns, The Next Superstar Boy Band and #NoMoreBullying: Wattpad’s 2017 Year in Review

Wattpad’s global community of readers and writers supported social causes with stories, love fantastic narratives that mix genres

What do werewolves and K-Pop have in common? They are both among the biggest Wattpad trends that inspired readers around the world in 2017. Wattpad today released its 2017 Year in Review, highlighting some of the most interesting and unexpected trends this year. Up-and-coming pop bands, fantastic creatures and genre-mashups are all among the trends that stood out this year.  

Inclusive fiction was one of the most important movements on Wattpad this year, as the global Wattpad community of more than 60 million people worked to create more space for diverse voices, perspectives and experiences in writing. Around the world, Wattpadders stood up to bullying and stood with people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community. Each month of the year, Wattpadders spent millions of minutes reading stories that address social issues or include a diverse cast of characters, while writers uploaded thousands of stories addressing these same issues each month.

“With more than 400 million story uploads and billion of reading minutes each month, we see global trends rising in real time, anticipating cultural phenomena before they hit the wider popular culture,” said Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Partnerships at Wattpad Studios. “2017 was a  year of empathy and awareness on Wattpad, as people embraced diversity and inclusion on the platform. Stories have the power to connect people from all walks of life and empower different voices, and we’re thrilled to see the global Wattpad community using stories as a way to make the world a better place for everyone.”

Some of the top Wattpad trends in 2017 included: 

  • Wattpad as the Second Screen: There’s been a lot of talk about TV and second screens in 2017, but for some fans of the year’s most popular shows, Wattpad is the second screen. Wattpadders love engaging with popular TV franchises, expanding their universes and taking characters and plots into new directions. Shows like Riverdale, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things exploded with fan stories this year. Riverdale stood out as a fan favourite, with millions of reading minutes each month, peaking at 7.9 million minutes in October and 54,000 story uploads throughout the year. Strangers Things was also huge this fall, with 7 million reading minutes in October.   
  • #NoMoreBullying: The global Wattpad Community has always been a positive, inclusive space for storytellers and story lovers everywhere. In 2017 Wattpadders spread that positivity like never before, embracing stories that fight back against bullying. Stories tagged with #NoMoreBullying, #BodyPositivity, and related themes racked up an average monthly reading time of 8 million minutes, powered by thousands of story uploads throughout the year. A community favourite story from this movement was @ClaireKann’s #FatGirl Magic, which set out to create more space in YA to celebrate people of color and every body type. The story currently has more than 1 million reads, inspiring people around the world.
  • Increasing diversity and inclusion in every genre: 2017 saw an increase in Fantasy and Science Fiction stories featuring a diverse main cast. Fantasy and Science Fiction stories tagged #PoC had an average of 4.8 million reading minutes each month in 2017. Through the course of 2017 there has been an 84% growth in reading time for genre stories with diverse characters. Diversity and inclusion was a major trend across all categories this year: every month, stories with diversity tags such as #PoC, #Diversity, #DiverseLit, #FreetheLGBT and #LGBTQ+ reach an average of 30 million reading minutes.
  • Why don’t we? Why not!: Trends across the global Wattpad community always hint at the next big thing in pop culture, and 2017 was no different. One of the biggest breakouts in music this year was up-and-coming boy band Why Don’t We. The group’s popularity exploded on Wattpad this year, as stories featuring the band went from under 40,000 reading minutes in January to nearly 20 million minutes per month for August, September, October. Watch out for more of Why Don’t We as they leap into other areas of pop culture in 2018.
  • Cannibals and Killer Clowns: Horror on Wattpad in 2017 was, well, horrific. Cannibal stories were one of the biggest unexpected trends this year, with thousands of new story uploads and readers consuming as much as 3.8 million minutes in a single month. Killer Clowns were also a major trend this fall, spiking near the release of IT in theatres. The sub-genre grew from near non-existence in January before reaching 9,000 new story uploads in September and October.
  • Reading and writing LGBTQ+: #FreetheLGBT was a popular movement on Wattpad this year to increase the number of prominent LGBTQ+ characters in fiction. People spent an average of 13 million minutes reading stories with this tag each month. There was also a surge in stories submitted with the tag after Pride Month, as Wattpad writers took up the cause of LGBTQ+ representation in fiction, adding 2,500 new story uploads in July and doubling the number of monthly uploads from earlier in the year. One of the breakout examples of this movement was @Vapid_Ink’s  story Vigilante. The LGBTQ-led superhero story was among the top stories in Action this year, with more than 2 million reading minutes.
  • Not your Nan’s romance: Genre mashups were huge in 2017, and one of the most popular was the combination of romance and action. This year saw spikes in romance stories featuring mafia figures and bad boy bikers, totalling more 300 million reading minutes each month of 2017.
  • Zombies are forever: True to their nature, zombies never die. Zombie stories are perennially popular on Wattpad, and horror and sci-fi fans devoured stories featuring zombies throughout 2017. Reading time for zombies averaged more than 13 million minutes a month, and The Virus Within, by @CrystalScherer, was the most popular zombie story of the year, with more than 600,000 reads since January.
  • Lycanthropy stays strong: Werewolves remained one of the most hair-raising trends of 2017, popular with readers around the world. Stories featuring werewolves are so popular on Wattpad that they make up their own category, combining narrative elements across a variety of genres, from horror to romance and beyond. On the whole, Wattpadders spend an average of 196 million minutes each month reading werewolf stories.
  • Spanish-language Wattpadders LOVE K-Pop: Wattpad readers in the Latin America were the some of the biggest readers and writers of K-Pop stories. In January, Latin American users shared 12,000 K-Pop story uploads. By July that number had jumped to 21,000 story uploads across the region. For English readers, monthly K-Pop reading time exceeded 50 million minutes for the first time this year.




WONDER Author R.J. Palacio and Film Director Stephen Chbosky Selected Winning Stories of When Kindness Prevailed for the #ChooseKind Campaign

Los Angeles, CA—November 10, 2017— In anticipation of its upcoming film WONDER, global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF.A, LGF.B) tapped creative network Tongal and Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, to connect with fans worldwide and source stories about moments when kindness prevailed. Today, Tongal unveils the three short films developed out of the partnership: The Fuzzy Spark, Roadside Assistance and Please Recycle, released across brand channels on Facebook, leading up to WONDER’s release on November 17 and encouraging viewers to #ChooseKind.

“Working directly with the talented members of Tongal and Wattpad allowed us to authentically bring the heartfelt themes of WONDER to the forefront of the creative conversation,” said Lionsgate Executive Vice President of Worldwide Digital Marketing Danielle DePalma. “The resulting short films from these storytelling communities are proof that branded content can inspire and engage fans in meaningful ways, and kindness can transcend through any medium.”

To kick off the campaign, Lionsgate enlisted emerging writers on Wattpad to share 500-word stories about choosing kindness. Out of the thousands of stories that were submitted, three Wattpad authors, Charly Manlove (@CharlyManlove), Graham Christian Ganahl (@GrahamChristian) and Char (@musicalchar), were selected as winners by WONDER author R.J. Palacio and film director Stephen Chbosky (Beauty and the Beast, The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Lionsgate then turned to Tongal to bring these stories to life through its community of professional filmmakers.

“The collaboration between the Tongal and Wattpad communities is truly an example of next-gen, open sourced storytelling,” said Tongal Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, James DeJulio. “By partnering with Lionsgate, we are able to expand the theme of WONDER – which is to choose kindness in all that you do – and bring new voices and perspectives to inspire new audiences.”

“Stories, community and engagement are the hallmarks of Wattpad and what we offer brand partners,” said Chris Stefanyk, Head of Brand Partnerships at Wattpad. “These are the same qualities that made WONDER such a great fit for our audience. Working with Lionsgate and Tongal on this campaign has allowed us to bring WONDER’s positive message of acceptance and kindness to the over 60 million readers and writers on Wattpad, while also bringing these stories to life on new mediums.”

Based on the New York Times bestseller and starring Academy Award® winner Julia Roberts, Oscar® nominee Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, WONDER tells the story of August Pullman, who was born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Go here http://lions.gt/wondershorts to check out the short films.


About Tongal

Tongal has pioneered a new model for creating content, powered by a global network of 120,000 professional creatives and a proprietary development platform. Tongal develops content strategies and produces video people want to see across every platform, including TV commercials, social and digital campaigns, and original entertainment for innovative brands like LEGO, Nestle, Mattel, NASA, Unilever, General Motors and more. The private company is headquartered in Santa Monica and is backed by Insight Venture Partners. More information can be found at www.tongal.com/business. 

About Wattpad

Wattpad’s vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories. The global multiplatform entertainment company uses the power of community and technology to enable the creation and distribution of content across a variety of formats. Its flagship app, Wattpad, is home to a community of more than 60 million people who spend over 15 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories. Tap by Wattpad, the company’s second storytelling product, offers short, chat-based stories in over a dozen languages. Widely recognized as the leader in social storytelling, the company established Wattpad Labs, an innovation lab for those passionate about the future of entertainment to develop the next breakthrough storytelling product alongside Wattpad. Wattpad Studios co-produces stories for film, television, digital and print, together with industry partners. Wattpad Brand Solutions offers a full suite of advertising products to help brands build deep engagement with Millennial and Gen Z consumers. The company is proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Learn more at: www.wattpad.com/about    

About Lionsgate

The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world.  In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies.  Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure.  The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.  

eOne and Wattpad Announce Content Partnership

Today we are thrilled to announce a partnership with Entertainment One (eOne)! The content partnership will see eOne source original television, feature film and virtual reality projects from the more than 400 million story uploads on Wattpad.

“Wattpad stories are adored around the world, and our passionate users spend billions of minutes each month reading on, and engaging with, our platform,” said Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios. “We’re thrilled to partner with eOne to uncover new voices and insights from our global community and bring Wattpad stories to screens all over the planet.”  

“We look forward to working with the talented team at Wattpad to find standout ideas that have resonated with the passionate Wattpad community,” said Jocelyn Hamilton, President, Canada, eOne Television. “The powerful data and insights from Wattpad will allow us to tap into the new generation of authors and gives us early access to captivating proven stories and characters.”

With over 500 hours of compelling new content delivered last year, eOne Television’s current lineup of original and acquired content now features 42 series and long-form programs commissioned by over 20 different broadcast and cable networks, including mega-hit The Walking Dead, companion series Fear the Walking Dead, and other major AMC and SundanceTV scripted series.

With the more than 60 million monthly users on Wattpad and over 2.5 million monthly writers, eOne recognized that Wattpad is home to unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. Today’s announcement joins a number of recent high-profile entertainment partnerships from our Wattpad Studios team, including news that Mashable will be adapting the Wattpad hit No Capes by Elizabeth A. Seibert (@joecool123).