India's Times Bridge to Invest in Storytelling Platform Wattpad

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Wattpad co-founder and CEO Allen Lau

The alliance aims to expand the Canadian storytelling platform's presence in India and to seek local partners to develop stories into films, TV shows, books and digital content.

Times Bridge, the investment arm of leading Indian media group The Times of India, will partner with and invest in Canadian storytelling startup Wattpad. While investment figures were not given, the alliance is aimed at expanding Wattpad's presence in India.

Last year, Wattpad raised $51 million in funding from Tencent Holdings and other investors. Times Bridge has invested in Uber, Airbnb, Coursera, Houzz, Smule and specialist movie service Mubi, among others.

Wattpad, founded in 2006, runs a platform that allows amateurs to publish their own works of fiction and claims a global community of over 70 million people. The company’s Story DNA machine-learning technology allows it to discover standout stories among the 565 million on the platform, which are then transformed into books, TV shows, films and digital projects. Some of Wattpad’s international entertainment partners include iflix, Huayi Brothers Korea, Bavaria Fiction, Sony, SYFY and many others. Wattpad recently launched its new publishing division Wattpad Books.

The alliance with Times Bridge follows the recent appointment of Wattpad's first country manager for India, Devashish Sharma. Working with Times Bridge, Wattpad will seek to create opportunities for Wattpad Studios to work with local partners to turn Wattpad stories into books, TV shows, films and digital projects. In India, Wattpaid claims it has 2.6 million monthly users who have shared more than four million story uploads.