From Zero to 40 Million: A Look Back at Nine Years of Wattpad
This post is brought to you by Wattpad Co-Founders Allen Lau & Ivan Yuen.Today, Wattpad turns nine. Around this time of year, Ivan and I always get a bit nostalgic as notifications pour in from people around the world wishing Wattpad a happy birthday. These notes remind us of the impact we’ve made since Wattpad launched in 2006.
When we launched, we were told that we were disrupting the publishing industry, but Ivan and I knew it was bigger than that. Wattpad goes beyond text, it’s entertainment where everyone participates, and where stories reflect the interests and experiences of the world.
To celebrate our ninth year, we’re counting the memories we’ve shared along the way.
One idea started in 2002, before smartphones and social networks. An idea that, in the future, people would reach for their mobile devices to read books and stories.
Two co-founders. Ivan and I connected in 2006 and realized we were both independently working on similar projects. Together, we knew that our idea of interactive stories optimized for mobile devices could change the world.
Three early years building Wattpad proved to be some of the most challenging years of our entire careers, but ultimately laid the foundation for our future success.
Four people dedicated themselves to Wattpad in 2010. After we raised $600,000 in funding later that year, we doubled the team. Today, Wattpad employs over 120 people, and we're hiring :-)
Five scholarship recipients were selected this year on Wattpad. They shared inspiring stories about the things that have impacted and shaped their lives. The opportunity to award scholarships and support their educational journeys was a great moment for us.
The Six is Toronto, the city where we build Wattpad. For us, the choice to build here has been one of the best decisions of our careers. Like October’s Very Own, Drake, we’re putting Toronto on the map and we couldn’t be more proud.
Seven plus 2000 gives you the year we made the decision to put Wattpad on the backburner. We had families that we needed to feed, and decided to get creative. A switch in our focus was required to pull in enough to get by. It was a tough decision, but we always knew we'd come back to Wattpad.
Eight months into 2011, we reached a milestone: one million people on Wattpad. The momentum continued to build and, later that year, we went on to raise our Series A funding round to push Wattpad even further.
Nine literary classics are mentioned in the viral hit After. Anna Todd is one of our Wattpad Stars, and, in her story, she references classic novels. Thanks to Anna, and other Wattpad writers like her, young people all over the world are reading classic stories on their mobile phones. That’s the power of social stories.
With the help of 40 million Wattpadders around the world, we’ve significantly changed how the world discovers and shares stories in under a decade. Together we’ve created new behaviors and expectations for what the reader-writer dynamic should look like. As our team grows and community expands, we’ll continue to look for ways to reinvent storytelling to make it more immersive, inclusive, and impactful.
Happy birthday Wattpad! Here’s to another year of stories we love!