Wattpad: Fifteen Years of Connecting Through Stories – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
Wattpad: Fifteen Years of Connecting Through Stories

“Reports of the “death of reading” are grossly exaggerated. Reading just looks a lot different today. It’s a social and interactive experience, not the solitary pursuit it once was”

Allen Lau, CEO and Co-Founder of Wattpad

In 2006, two friends sat down to devise a plan, envisioning a large-scale revolution of how people everywhere could discover, share, and connect through stories. Soon after, Wattpad was born. Fifteen years later, Wattpad is a global entertainment company and leader in storytelling technology, serving a community of over 94 million people. We recently had the opportunity to reach out to Wattpad’s Patrick LaRoche, Associate Director of Engineering, to learn more about the company’s rise to the top, what’s made them so successful, and what the future holds for the world’s most loved social-storytelling platform.

When Wattpad was first created, cofounders Ivan and Allen believed people would read and write on devices that they would carry with them all the time, but it was only 2006 and this technology was not able to support their vision quite yet. Luckily, they didn’t have to wait long as the iPhone would be released in 2007, followed by the app store a year later. These two events along with the growing popularity of Android devices prompted a worldwide decrease in data costs, and opened the door for people everywhere to access the mobile internet. Wattpad would soon take off, allowing more people to share their voice and build an audience for their work, outside the traditional publishing systems.

“Wattpad has democratized storytelling for a new generation of diverse Gen Z writers and their fans. Alongside Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, our TV, film, and publishing division, Wattpad combines art and science to unearth incredible stories and cultivate the fandoms driving the future of entertainment.”

– Patrick LaRoche, Associate Director of Engineering at Wattpad

With 94 million users and teams all over the world, it is no wonder that Wattpad is one of the most diverse companies in tech. Accordingly, diversity and inclusion have always been of the utmost importance at Wattpad. These values are woven into everything the company does, starting with how they build their teams, and extending to building responsible products that can celebrate and elevate all Wattpad users.

“Diversity & Inclusion isn’t just important in our offices: it’s also a key part of what we hope to foster in the global Wattpad community.”

– Patrick LaRoche, Associate Director of Engineering at Wattpad

Wattpad has accomplished more than most tech companies: the company’s innovations have created new ways for writers to make money and build global fandoms, and Wattpad’s entertainment projects have won acclaim around the world, including a People’s Choice Award, three Teen Choice Awards, and multiple Daytime Emmy nominations.  Today, the company reaches a community of 94 million people around the world.

 In response to the company’s massive growth, Wattpad recently opened another headquarters in Halifax. The HQ2 has been a great success, going from just a few team members in the region to nearly 30, and adding roles in engineering, marketing, production design, product management and support.

“Halifax is a city and community that is unmatched in Canada, with a thriving tech scene and world-class talent.”

– Patrick LaRoche, Associate Director of Engineering at Wattpad

Sixteen years removed from Wattpad’s launch, the company has evolved into a global, multiplatform entertainment company, but what does the future hold? According to Patrick, the journey is far from over. In the future, Wattpad plans to help more writers build a global audience and make money from their work, nurture fandoms on the platform, create new storytelling technologies, and bring more new voices to screens and bookshelves everywhere.