India: Vernacular digital platform Pratilipi raises $48m led by Krafton

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Vernacular digital platform Pratilipi, on Wednesday, said it has raised $48 million (about 357 crore) as part of its series D fundraise led by South Korean gaming giant, Krafton Inc.

The company’s existing investors, including Omidyar Network India, also participated in the round along with a host of startup founders, including Unacademy’s Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal; Delhivery’s co-founder Sahil Barua; Meesho’s co-founder Vidit Aatrey; and Udhyam’s Mekin Maheshwari.

Pratilipi co-founder and chief executive officer Ranjeet Pratap Singh, also participated in the fundraise.

With its series D raise, the total funding raised by Pratilipi stands at $78.8 million till date.

According to the company, it will use the proceeds of the round to strengthen its intellectual property (IP) and develop its offerings across various formats including audio books, podcasts, comics, web series, movies and games. Part of the investment will also be utilized for expansion into several overseas markets.

Through the investment, Krafton will also work with Pratilipi to identify best stories that can be translated for its global gaming franchises.

The six-year-old firm is a storytelling platform that primarily focuses on Indian languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Urdu, and Telugu.

It started as an online reading-writing platform in Indian languages and now claims to have over 370,000 writers, and 30 million monthly active readers in 12 Indian languages.

“Over the past 12-18 months we have seen a lot of progress, expanding into some new formats as well as finding newer ways for our creators to be successful. We are both pleased and privileged to partner with Krafton, which shares our love for great stories and IP,” said Singh.

Over the past 18 months, Pratilipi has launched two new products; Pratilipi FM and Pratilipi Comics, and acquired two companies—IVM Podcast and The Write Order. Its comics and FM offerings are witnessing 850,000 and 300,000 monthly active users respectively, the company said last month.

It has also started partnering with the ecosystem partners to bring engaging, high-quality literary content in other formats such as traditional books, web series and animation.

“It is exciting to see the growth of Indian local IPs in online literature, comics and audio platform in Pratilipi. With Pratilipi already having a multilingual platform for online literature, it is poised to become one of the strongest players in emerging markets in the future. Krafton believes in the long-term potential of local Indian IPs that can be successful not just in India but globally,” said Sean Hyunil Sohn, head of Krafton’s India division.

The news comes when gaming major Krafton Inc. is looking to go public and recently reduced its listing target to $3.09 billion, according to Reuters.

“Pratilipi has helped shape a vibrant online literature ecosystem across 12 Indian languages over the past six years. They have helped create hundreds of thousands of writers by providing them with a platform that has a large viewership and also engages millions of readers with high-quality literary content. We are thrilled to make our fourth consecutive investment in Pratilipi,” said Aditya Misra, principal at Omidyar Network India.

In June, Pratilipi had raised 20 crore in debt from venture debt provider Alteria Capital.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.