The press release on the Wattpad website said the East Coast operation would be its “second headquarters” though it gave no information on the number of people to be based in Halifax nor what they will do.
The company – which has developed platforms where people can post stories they’ve written and other people can read them – already has offices in the U.K., Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Jakarta, and Manila.
“This expansion is a major milestone in a year of incredible milestones for Wattpad,” said CEO and Co-Founder Allen Lau in the statement. “We’re a global company, with teams and partners across time zones and on nearly every continent, so a second HQ will allow us to supercharge our business as we continue to grow. Halifax is a city and community that is unmatched in Canada, with a thriving tech scene, world-class talent, and a business-friendly environment.”
The milestones Lau referred to include Wattpad’s global community reaching 80 million people, solidifying its place as the world’s leading platform for writers.
Its users spend more than 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories, says the company, and its Story DNA Machine Learning technology helps it to understand what readers are looking for. Wattpad Studios and Wattpad Books use these data-backed insights to turn Wattpad stories into books, films, TV shows, and digital projects.
This year, Wattpad’s film After won several awards and was one of the top grossing indie films of the year. The company’s Hulu show, Light as a Feather, received four Daytime Emmy nominations and a second season order.
“It is really wonderful to see innovative tech companies like Wattpad choose Halifax,” said Andrew Rau-Chaplin, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University. “The technology and innovation sectors are booming on the East Coast and, along with our partners, we are supporting this growth by educating the digital talent organizations need to thrive here.”
Wattpad raised US$51 million (C$65.3 million) in January 2018 from such investors as the Chinese Internet services company Tencent Holdings and BDC Capital.
“Wattpad’s decision to open their second headquarters in Halifax is an exciting addition to the Atlantic Canadian innovation ecosystem,” said Volta CEO Jesse Rodgers. “We are thrilled to have Wattpad join Volta’s community of innovators, and to act as a landing pad for the company as they get to know the region.”