We watch TV the way people in the 19th century used to read novels. Victorian-era writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens made a name for themselves by publishing their work in serialized formats, putting out small installments weekly or monthly that always ended in a cliff-hanger to keep their audiences coming back for more.
As the self-proclaimed “Netflix of serials,” Radish publishes bite-sized stories or “episodes” that are meant to be read in about 10 minutes on a smartphone. Popular genres include romance and sci-fi, but the company says it is planning to release LGBTQ, horror, thriller and young adult categories soon too.
Radish is also stealing a page from the traditional Hollywood writing room, hiring Emmy Award-winning soap opera writers, best-selling authors and its own creators to produce the stories, which usually cost about 20 or 30 cents per chapter.
“Our app is one of a kind because we’re coming at written serialized content from a different and exciting new angle,” CEO and founder Seung Yoon Lee said in a statement. “We feel we can lead the market by providing a hyper-serialized function that updates multiple times a day, unlike other serialized storytelling verticals such as online video streaming or podcasts which takes several months or even years to produce a season.”
Since its 2016 founding, Radish has produced more than 6,500 episodes from 30 original series. Its top story, “Torn Between Alphas” — a romance novel about werewolves — has garnered more than 50 million “reads,” earning more than $4 million as reported by TechCrunch.
This latest funding round was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia and Kakao Page Corp., bringing Radish’s total funding to more than $68 million. The money will be used to grow its leadership team and hire more writers and data scientists, the company reported. Radish is also opening an office in Los Angeles, where it plans to create new series and adapt its existing content into other formats like games and TV shows.
“With its own fast-paced original content production, Radish is best positioned to become a leading player in the global online fiction market,” JP Lee, CEO and managing partner at Softbank Ventures Asia, said in a statement. “Radish has proven that its serialized novel platform can change the way people consume online content, and we are excited to support the company’s continued disruption in the mobile fiction space.”