On-line fiction app Radish is being purchased for $440 million by South Korean web conglomerate Kakao, it stated Tuesday, making a multi-millionaire of its 30-year-old founder solely 5 years after he set it up.
The pay-to-read platform presents serialised storytelling in bite-sized instalments optimised for smartphones, with readers paying round 20 to 30 US cents to entry the subsequent episode instantly, or anticipate an hour to learn it without cost.
Likened to a Netflix for novels, Radish recruited in-house soap-opera scriptwriters together with a number of Emmy Award winners to “current the most recent and brightest in entertaining, numerous serial fiction to readers”, the corporate says.
There are presently greater than 50 such authentic collection, and the class accounted for greater than 90 p.c of the corporate’s income of $20 million final yr, it stated.
It additionally acts as a platform for unbiased writers, and says on its web site that some make almost $40,000 each three months.
Founder and CEO Lee Seung-yoon arrange the corporate after graduating from Oxford in 2016 and attracted funding from buyers together with SoftBank Group’s enterprise arm and Lowercase Capital.
The unit shopping for his agency, Kakao Leisure, already produces authentic content material of its personal from net novels to TV collection, motion pictures and music, he stated, including the acquisition would realise his imaginative and prescient “on a a lot bigger scale and in an interesting manner”.
Some South Korean web corporations have struggled to broaden their operations abroad and Radish stated in a press launch the deal would broaden Kakao’s “attain in North America and different English-speaking territories”.
Whereas at college Lee turned president of the Oxford Union debating society, a submit which has beforehand been held by political leaders together with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and late Pakistani chief Benazir Bhutto.
Requested whether or not he was excited about going into politics at some point, Lee instructed AFP: “No I’m not.”