Bengaluru: Self-publishing platform Pratilipi (Nasadiya Technologies Pvt. Ltd) has raised $4.3 million in Series A round of funding led by Omidyar Network, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Existing investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, Contrarian Capital, Atul Goel and Times Internet Ltd, and new investors Shunwei Capital and WEH Ventures also participated in the round.
Pratilipi allows users to create and share long-form content like poems and short stories in eight local languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and Marathi. Users can access the platform via a mobile app or using a web interface.
The company will use fresh funding to hire new talent in the areas of product, technology and data science and also for further growth and partnerships. It also plans to add more local languages on its platform later this year. Pratilipi had raised $1 million in its seed round in February 2016 led by Nexus Venture Partners.
Incorporated in March 2015, Pratilipi currently has over 1 million downloads on the Google Play Store. The self-publishing platform also has over 150,000 content pieces published by more than 22,000 authors till date. On an average, a user spends 35 minutes a day reading on the platform, the company said.
In an earlier interaction with Mint, Pratilipi’s chief executive officer Ranjeet Singh said that the platform has plans to expand into formats other than text. “We will move to audio in another 6 months, and we might explore video formats maybe two years down the line. But the type of audio and video on Pratilipi will be more long-form content, and not short audio clips or content," Singh said in a phone interview.
The company has a current team size of 31 people and was originally started by five co-founders—Sankaranarayanan Devarajan, Rahul Ranjan, Sahradayi Modi, Prashant Gupta and Singh.
Pratilipi estimates that around 90% Indians can only read, write or speak in Indian languages and yet less than 1% of online content is in Indian languages.
“9 out of 10 of the next half a billion Indians coming online over the next 5 years will be more conversant in their native languages than in English. However, content for these consumers is scarce, as 99% of online content is available in English, despite an immense demand for local language content. Pratilipi has demonstrated steep growth to become the largest destination platform for long format vernacular writing and reading catering to the needs of millions of Indian language internet users," Siddharth Nautiyal, partner at Omidyar Network, said in a statement.
At least three content start-ups have raised funding from investors in the recent past. Indian social media platform ShareChat had raised $18.2 million in Series B funding led by Xiaomi Singapore and Shun Wei Capital this month.
Video-sharing platform Clip raised $6 million led by Matrix Partners India in December 2017. In the same month, content sharing start-up YouQuote raised $1 million in a seed funding round led by IDG Ventures India.