Pratilipi, an Indian startup directed towards helping writers and authors share their work with the world through its innovative storytelling interface, has raised $48 million in a financial round led by South Korean gaming giant Krafton.
The Series D investment round saw the valuation of the 7-year old firm rise to $78.8 million. Other investors included existing backers Omidyar Network India, as well as a whole slew of entrepreneurs, from Pratilipi’s very own Chief Executive Officer Ranjeet Pratap Singh, to Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal from Unacademy, Meesho’s Vidit Aatrey, Nishith Rastogi from Locus, Amit Agarwal from NoBroker, and Mekin Maheshwari from Udhyam.
Pratilipi came into being some seven years ago, and is headquartered in Bengaluru today. It offers as many as 12 Indian languages, covering a wide range of literary gems, from novels and articles, to magazines and poetry. Self-publishing on Pratilipi is just a click away, and drafts can easily be stored, making it a paradise for writers. That’s not all though, as Pratilipi also doubles up as a social networking platform of sorts, allowing readers to follow their favorite authors and keep tabs on when and what they post. Finally, the app also offers writers the chance of monetizing their work. They can publish their stories, novels, and more on the network, and sell the same to readers. This scenario usually follows a 70-30 model, with the majority share going to the company.
Having started out simply as a place where writers could write and readers to read, the service has since expanded to cover more than 30 million readers, and over 37,000 authors. Audio and even comic books have made their way to the platform over recent years, making it a buzzing marketplace for all thing literary.
While Pratilipi seems to constantly be forging deals with new investors, the initial backers are still here to stay. Take, for example, Pratik Poddar, Principle at Nexus Venture Partners, who says, “We have been a part of Pratilipi’s growth story since the early stages. Over the years, we have witnessed the team’s deep product focus, an obsession to make creators successful, and keen understanding of monetizing content IP which is extensible across different formats.”
The new funds will be directed towards further expanding the in-house publishing wing, as well as strengthening its partnerships with the industry, like the one forged with MX Player earlier this year. The introduction of Krafton on the investors list could be hinting towards the company trying to incorporate its stories into interactive gaming plots.
CEO Singh remains enthusiastic about the future of his firm, banking upon the growth in the online reading space in India, which has led to many publishing houses joining hands with Pratilipi. He says, “We will continue to work with ecosystem partners and for formats where we already have in-house expertise we will expand on those.”
Out-of-India ventures might also be on the cards, but the company has so far, not chalked out any solid roadmap for the same.
“It is exciting to see the growth of Indian local IPs in online literature, comics and audio platform in Pratilipi, which is already the largest player in India in multiple categories. With Pratilipi already having a multilingual platform for online literature, it is poised to become one of the strongest players in emerging markets in the future. Krafton believes in long term potential of local Indian IPs that can be successful not just in India but globally as well across formats including literature, comics and gaming and our investment in Pratilipi is another step in realising that vision,” were the words of Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of Krafton India, which recently launched the PUBG India version, after a long wait by users.