Toronto-based Wattpad is home to a community of more than 70 million people who spend over 22 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories. Earlier this year it raised $51 million in a funding round led by China’s Tencent and also including BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, and existing investor Raine Group.
Sharma will be expected to grow Wattpad’s user-base in India, and work with local partners to turn Wattpad stories into film, television, print and digital projects. It currently claims 2.6 million monthly users and more than 4 million story uploads from India. Content can be viewed in Indian languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Assamese, Marathi, and Oriya.
Sharma has previously held roles in Toronto and Silicon Valley. He joins Wattpad from CoHo, one of India’s top co-living companies, where he was a founder. He will be based in Mumbai and report to Wattpad chief product officer & co-founder Ivan Yuen.
“India is home to some of the most creative storytellers on the planet, with the most exciting literary and entertainment sectors anywhere,” said Lau. “Devashish understands both the product and community sides of technology, which is the perfect combination to help us expand our business in India.”
“India’s media market is growing at an incredible pace, with producers and OTT services struggling to meet the demand for local content. India is a land of stories,” said Sharma.
Earlier this year Wattpad hired Dexter Ong, as head of Asia for Wattpad Studios in Hong-Kong. In August, it struck a deal with Asian regional steaming platform Iflix to co-produce more than a dozen original movies in Indonesia.