Community-writing site Wattpad says over 70 percent of time spent on the service comes from users on tablets or smartphones, and one of its most requested features is the ability to write and edit stories from mobile devices. So this week, the company is rolling out a “Create” functionality for Android tablets and phones. The updated app can be found in the Google Play store.
Wattpad, which is five years old and based in Toronto, has nearly 10 million monthly unique users. “This is the post-PC era,” Wattpad founder and CEO Allen Lau told me. “Users can write a chapter in 15 minutes while they’re waiting for a bus. They can write whenever they have the inspiration.” In fact, users have already been writing stories from their phones by navigating their mobile browsers to wattpad.com, “essentially hacking their way around the limitation.” Now they have an easier way.
Wattpad’s app is also available for iOS, but the company is rolling out its writing function on Android first because that is where most of its global users are. Fred Wilson, principal of Union Square Ventures (which led Wattpad’s first funding round in September 2011), recently took a look at Wattpad’s mobile usage stats and found that most of its North American users are on iOS, but Asian and European users skew toward Android. “Android is our top mobile platform, and we are going there first to learn,” Lau said.
“Cellphone novels” written via SMS are already popular in Japan, but Wattpad says it is the first company to let users publish long-form text from mobile to the Web. In beta tests, the company said “hundreds of stories” were written and published from mobile. Testers also jotted notes, made quick edits and fixed typos. “The behavior we are seeing [in beta testing] is similar to what we saw in Japan ten years ago,” he said.
Wattpad raised $17.3 million last month in a round led by Khosla Ventures, in addition to its $3.5 million funding from Union Square.