Pencil, a Mumbai-based publishing platform turning books into living content using analytics and dynamic editing, has announced raising $1 MN in the Pre-Series-A round. The current round has been led by the US-based venture capital firm SOSV. Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) and Artesian, who have come on board as new investors also participated in the round along with existing investors from Mumbai Angels and SucSEED.
Pencil heralds the next wave of dynamic content consumption and the creator economy. Just as YouTube and Instagram have transformed video and photo content, Pencil is catering to the needs of millions of writers, readers, and storytellers worldwide and will utilise the funds raised from the Pre-Series A round for building the tech and team at Pencil.
Ankur Mittal, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures, says, “While digital transformation is sweeping through every sector from real estate to manufacturing to transportation, it has somehow eluded the publishing space. Pencil is democratizing the publishing industry and promoting passion economy where it will make it easier and convenient for people to publish content and for that content to find not only a reader base but also OTT platforms who may be interested in converting those stories into movies and web series. Use of analytics, dynamic editing, digital distribution, and most importantly, open access to new markets for budding writers that allows them to connect with their readers and get real-time feedback are the factors that helped our decision to invest in Pencil.”
Pencil is the first-ever platform to enable writers to publish their books in 60+ languages, including all Indian Languages, distribute the books as eBooks and printed books worldwide for free. Pencil is helping authors understand how their book is being read through in-depth analytics and make dynamic edits – selling the new versions across the world using their tech platform to improve the content to enhance their readership while increasing their chances of commercial success. Founded by a team with decades in the publishing industry, Pencil has attracted thousands of writers to its platform in a span of a few weeks.
With multiple investments in early-stage startups in India since 2016, William Bao Bean, General Partner, SOSV and Managing Director of MOX, shares: “We’re in the middle of an evolution in dynamic content: data will shape how people read, learn, and publish in the next decade. The publishing industry is ripe for disruption, and we cannot think of a stronger team to work with.”
“We are on a mission to make publishing a transparent and truly digital ecosystem for authors, readers, and publishers. We aim to democratize creativity by empowering writers to become authors, improve their content, build audiences and monetize their creative pursuits. We are extremely fortunate to have such wonderful investor-partners backing us who share our vision and want to help us grow faster by supporting us not just financially but also open access for us to take our business to the right audience,” says Swarup Nanda, Founder & CEO of Pencil.
In addition to the writing platform, Pencil is also building a reader app with the aim to help people read more and read better. Ahead of competitors, the app will feature content in multiple languages along with key insights from 1000+ international non-fiction books and built-in recognition for readers to read and contribute. The platform also helps creators make more revenue by getting them deals with other publishers for translated versions of their books, with studios & OTT platforms for adapting content to video formats, by re-imagining content discovery. Pencil aims to break the barriers between readers and writers by creating a social story-telling platform.