"We have a very ambitious goal that eventually this company can have a billion users," Allen Lau, cofounder and CEO of Wattpad, told Mashable in a recent interview. "That's exactly why we are raising this round of money: to go even faster to our vision."
Wattpad currently has about 25 million registered users, according to Lau, up from about 15 million this time last year. That's impressive for a reading-focused service but still far from that billion-user target. "It's a very lofty goal," Lau admits, noting that it probably won't happen "this year, or the year after or even in three or four years."
Users spend a total of nearly 6 billion minutes on the service every month and read the equivalent of 10 hours every minute. About 50% of the activity on the service is from the U.S. The rest is international.
The Toronto-based company raised a $17 million round of funding less than two years ago and still has a "good portion of the cash in the bank," said Lau. It received strong interest from investors and opted to seize the opportunity. With the additional funds, Wattpad will add to its staff of 70 by hiring for product development and community management positions.
"Our user base is growing really fast right now so we have to put a lot of effort in them," Lau says. "We want to hire more talent and grow the company."