Mumbai-based content publishing platform Pencil on Monday said it 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) and Artesian.
Existing investors Mumbai Angels and SucSEED also participated in the round. The startup will use the funds to scale up its tech team as it is presently working on launching a reader app.
Speaking about the new investment, Swarup Nanda, Founder and CEO, Pencil, said,
“We are on a mission to make publishing a transparent and truly digital ecosystem for authors, readers, and publishers. We aim to democratise creativity by empowering writers to become authors, improve their content, build audiences, and monetise their creative pursuits.”
Launched in September 2020 by Swarup Nanda, Pencil enables writers to publish their books for free on its platform and distributes them globally in over 60 languages. The startup, that aims to break the barriers between readers and writers by creating a social story-telling platform, claims to have attracted thousands of writers in a span of a few weeks.
William Bao Bean, General Partner, SOSV, and Managing Director of MOX, added, “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.”
“While digital transformation is sweeping through every sector from real estate to manufacturing to transportation, it has somehow eluded the publishing space. Pencil is democratising 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,” said Ankur Mittal, Co-founder, Inflection Point Ventures.