Pratilipi, the storytelling app, raises $15 million

Pratilipi is an app that is on a mission to spread stories around India in the country’s native languages. The platform, which unites Indian writers and encourages others to try their hand at writing, has just raised $15 million.

To date, the five-year-old startup has raised around $21. The company’s Series B round was led by Qiming Venture Partners and many existing investors also participated in the round. The funding will allow Pratilipi to spread its network across the nation.

With more than 100,000 writers active on the platform and over 5.2 million monthly active readers, Ranjeet Pratap Singh, CEO of Pratilipi, describes the platform as “YouTube for writers.”

Pratilipi focuses on text and audio storytelling in Indian languages, a niche, but largely untapped, space. The app has been experiencing great success, with a large and loyal reader base, spending an average of 53 minutes on the app.

As people across rural India come online for the first time, the country has seen a huge surge in the demand for content in local languages.

The current model of Pratilipi serves no ads to its users, however Singh intends to change this with the new capital, giving writers on the platform a way to directly monetize their content.

He also said that Pratilipi would start to purchase the rights to some stories, as well as helping writers secure deals with movie and web series studios and publishing houses. A significant amount of the startups fresh funding will go towards engineering improvements for story recommendations that populate the platform.

Helen Pei-Hua Wong, Partner at Qiming Venture Partners, said: “Pratilipi is well positioned to capture the next wave of internet users in India, who prefer to consume content in their own vernacular languages. The company has already built a strong community of readers and writers, and network effects provide strong barriers to entry.”