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Wattpad Banks $51 Million From Tencent, Other Investors to Fund Entertainment Projects

Wattpad, which hosts a platform with more than 400 million user-generated stories, has raised $51 million from investors including Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.

Other investors in the round include BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, and existing investor Raine Group.

The Toronto-based company said the new funding will go toward expanding entertainment projects — adapting Wattpad stories for TV, film, digital media, and publishing — as well as continued investment in machine learning, interactive storytelling and other initiatives. Wattpad also plans to staff up across all departments.

Wattpad has TV, film and digital-video partnerships with NBCUniversal’s Universal Cable Productions, eOne, CW Seed and others. The company works with publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Hachette Audio and Hachette Romans, and says hundreds of Wattpad stories have been published as traditional books.

To date, Wattpad has raised $117.8 million. 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.

Founded in 2006, Wattpad now has more than 65 million users globally, growing more than 40% in 2017. Last year, it launched Tap by Wattpad, which delivers short, conversational-style narratives and now has over 300,000 stories available.

“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,” Wattpad co-founder and CEO Allen Lau said in a statement. “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.”

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