Content startup Pencil raises $1 million in pre-Series A funding round


Mumbai: Content publishing platform Pencil has raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round led by US-based venture capital fund SOSV, with participation from Inflection Point Ventures (IPV).

Other investors who participated are Artesian and existing investors — Mumbai Angels and SucSEED. Funds raised will be used to scale up the company’s tech team as it is working on launching a reader app.

Pencil enables writers to publish their books for free on its platform and distributes them globally in more than 60 languages. The company, with the use of analytics and dynamic editing, aims to open up the market for budding authors to publish their work for a global audience.

Besides helping authors understand how their book is being read through in-depth analytics and dynamic edits, the platform helps them generate revenue by getting them deals with publishers for translated versions of their books, with studios and OTT for adapting content into video formats. The company is positioned in the creators’ economy vertical and is aiming to create a social storytelling platform.

“With the present boom in the creator economy, we spotted a void in creative spaces for authors. We want to fill this gap by bringing in a dynamic, transparent and truly digital literary space where writers can publish, improve their content, build audiences and monetise their creative pursuits,” said Swarup Nanda, founder and chief executive officer of Pencil.

For IPV, this is the fourth investment since January this year. It is looking to invest Rs 155 crore this year across more than 60 startups.

“There is a definite shift from ‘Uber for X’ era investing to passion economy investing, and Pencil is an investment in that direction,” IPV’s co-founder Ankur Mittal said. “Pencil is a unique platform that facilitates self-publishing for authors and allows people an opportunity to financially benefit by pursuing their passion.”

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