Toronto start-up wants to be the YouTube of eBooks
Wattpad is a Toronto start-up that wants to do for unpublished authors what YouTube did for amateur filmmakers. The 12 employee company, currently based in North York, just received a $3.5 million cash infusion from Union Square Ventures, the same VC that has funded the likes of Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. They plan to use the money to hire new talent, add new features and quickly grow beyond the one million registered users currently signed up for the service.
The company started as an e-reading solution for mobile platforms but eventually transformed into a community of readers and writers who use both Wattpad's web site and mobile offerings to share and discover new work. The key to the service is that it allows writers to publish their work to an active community of readers without going through traditional book publishing channels. While Wattpad may not make these writers instantaneously wealthy, it at least offers them a type of exposure similar to how new talent gets spotted on YouTube.
With the tagline "Unlimited Stores. Everywhere", Wattpad really does seem like some sort of hybrid between Amazon and YouTube. It's a massive marketplace that makes it easy to see what's popular, what's new or find books on a particular subject. According to a company spokesperson, Wattpad has registered over one billion reads across all platforms and they get downloads of more than a million books a month.
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