Self-publishing platform for books raises $37 mn to use AI to ‘build new Disney' - Hindustan Times
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Self-publishing platform for books raises $37 million to use AI to ‘build a new Disney’. Details

By, New Delhi
Feb 27, 2024 03:11 PM IST

San Francisco-based Inkitt raised the investment via a Series C round led by Khosla Ventures.

Inkitt, a San Francisco-based startup that has an eponymous app with which users can self-publish stories, has raised $37 million (approx. 307 crore). The funding's aim, the company says, is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to ‘build a new Disney around content.’

Inkitt says it already has 33 million (3.3 crore) users and 'dozens of bestsellers' (Image: inkitt.com)
Inkitt says it already has 33 million (3.3 crore) users and 'dozens of bestsellers' (Image: inkitt.com)

The money has been raised via a Series C round, the firm, which was founded in Berlin, told TechCrunch.

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“The new funding will be used to expand the kind of content it (the app) produces: AI to write stories based on your original ideas, and to produce versions of its fiction personalised for specific readers; a move into games and audiobooks; and, more video content adapted from fiction published on its platform – video that is produced with humans today but will, eventually, also be generated using AI,” Inkitt told the website.

The longer-term vision is to expand the app's content library, followed by building a ‘multimedia empire’ around it, said Ali Albazaz, Inkitt's CEO and founder.

The Series C round

The round to raise $37 million was led by Vinod Kholsa of Khosla Ventures, with NEA and Kleiner Perkins – the startup's previous backers – participating as well, along with some undisclosed investors.

Also, this was the company's fourth funding round, having already raised $3.9 million (seed), $16 million (Series A) and $59 million (Series B), meaning that the total investments in the firm stand at $115.9 million.

Additionally, at least one publisher has already made an offer to acquire Inkitt, which, post Series C, is valued at around $400 million (approx. 3320 crore) post-money.

How Inkitt works

After people have self-published stories through it, the eponymous app uses AT and data science to select what it believes are the ‘most-compelling’ stories, and tweak. The tweaked story is subsequently distributed and sold on a second app, Galatea.

The platform's business has attracted 33 million (3.3 crore) users and ‘dozens of bestsellers,’ according to CEO Albazaz, who further stated that globally, the platform ranks as the eleventh best-selling publisher.

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