Interview with Lauren Burns and Emma Tonner, Co-Founders at Galatea

The main idea behind our company is to use technology to systematically discover the most talented novelists in the world and turn their stories into successful blockbusters. We have an online platform,, where novelists from all over the world upload their manuscripts for readers to read for free. In the background, we analyse reader engagement while they interact with each story. The best performing stories, based on the data we collect, are given a publishing deal and are released on Galatea.

Galatea is an immersive fiction reading app, meaning when a story is selected for publication on Galatea, we work with a team of Hollywood Screenwriters and sound designers to add special features that bring the story to life.

Things like vibrations, sound effects, and chat fiction help to immerse the readers into the story – they can literally feel the main character’s heart beating. Our data driven approach to publishing continues on Galatea and we continuously iterate on storylines and improve cliffhangers, and more to optimise for the best reader engagement.

We have discovered many successful debut authors through this process and are very proud to work with them. S.S.Sahoo comes from Odisha, India, where the literacy rate for women is 64%. She wrote her entire story on her cellphone and is now making millions in sales from readers all over the world. Another one of our top selling authors, Sapir Englard, is a 25 year old from Israel, just crossed $5 million in sales last year. This is what makes us happy; giving authors from all over the world an equal chance to succeed and share their stories with the world.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Since Inkitt was founded in 2013, our mission has always been the same – to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. I bet you didn’t know, J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books were rejected by 13 publishers, and Stephen King’s Carrie by 30!? It’s so unfair, and that’s why Ali (the CEO and Founder of Inkitt) set up the company in the first place, on the realisation that traditional publishers relied on gut instinct to select books for publication.

We set out on a mission to create a product in which we could distribute our stories independently and change the way people experience reading. There has been so little change in the traditional publishing industry in the past 100 years, but so much innovation going on in online space. We saw the opportunity to fuse our passion for tech and storytelling to create a product to heighten a reader’s experience by fully immersing them into the world of their favorite characters with sfx, vfx, haptic feedback, various formats and more.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Have the courage to speak up about your ideas. Even if they seem crazy or unconventional. Inkitt gave us the space to stand up for what we believe. The ability to test and grow and try out ideas, no matter how out of the box they sounded.

Listen to your users. Galatea wouldn’t be where it is without our users. Connecting with users and incorporating user feedback into our work is a crucial element in everything we do. Since the launch of Galatea, we have done weekly user calls to make sure that we are always in touch with the people who use our product and we take their feedback very seriously. In fact, every monday, the whole company stops for 30 minutes to take part. Many of the choices we’ve made, from features to payment models to story tests, have come from users.

Be fast and fail faster. You’ll have millions of ideas you want to try, features you want to build, directions you want to go in. You need to weed out the good ideas from the bad ideas as quickly as possible so that you can find the version of your product that will have the biggest impact.

What can we hope to see from Galatea in the future?

People all over the world draw hope and inspiration from stories. From young children to top scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs who are changing the world for the better, they find inspiration in stories like Harry Potter or The Alchemist. We want to build the platform where the next Elon Musk or Kamala Harris can find their inspiration. Where stories are objectively discovered and systematically improved to provide the best experience for the readers.

In the coming years, we hope to evolve from storytelling in text to TV series, movies, games, any format where stories can inspire.

This year, we will be expanding our library. Adding more books, genres, new formats like audio books. We have a big vision: building the Disney of the 21st Century, and are very excited for every step of the way.