INKR Raises $ 3.1M to Make More Comics Accessible to Audiences Worldwide – TechCrunch

A photo of the INKR team from the digital comics platform

Digital comics platform INKR team

INKR is a digital comics platform that crosses cultural and linguistic differences, allowing creators to reach global audiences with its proprietary localization technology. Previously started, the company announced today that it has raised $ 3.1 million in pre-Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures, with participation from the founder and CEO of manga distributor TokyoPop Stu Levy and the CEO of VI Management. , David Do.

Based in Singapore with an office in Ho Chi Minh City, INKR was founded in 2019 by Ken Luong, Khoa Nguyen, and Hieu Tran. The company says that since its launch in October 2020, its average monthly users have grown 200%. It currently partners with over 70 content creators and publishers, including FanFan, Image Comics, Kodansha USA, Kuaikan, Mr. Blue, SB Creative, TokyoPop, and Toons Family, and has so far over 800 titles, including manga, webtoons, and graphics. novels.

Luong, CEO of INKR, told TechCrunch that the platform will focus first on translated comics from major global publishers, but plans to open up to small, independent creators in 2022.

At the heart of INKR’s platform is its localization technology, which the company says reduces the time spent preparing comics for different markets from days to just hours.

“Comic localization is more than just a translation. It is a time-consuming process and many steps involve many people: file management, transcription, translation, typesetting, sound effects, quality control, etc. Luong said.

A screenshot with some of the titles of the INKR digital comics platform

Some of INKR’s titles

In addition to language, editors must also take into account the differences between comic book styles around the world, including Japanese manga, Chinese manhua, Korean manhwa, and American comics. For example, comics can be laid out page by page or use vertical scrolling. Some languages ​​read from left to right, while others go from right to left.

Luong says that INKR’s proprietary artificial intelligence engine, called INKR Comics Vision, is capable of recognizing different formats and elements on a comic page, including text, dialogue, characters, facial expressions, backgrounds, and panels. INKR Localize, your tool for human translators, helps them deliver accurate translations faster by automating tasks like text transcription, vocabulary suggestions, and typesetting.

Since localization is done by teams, including people in different locations, INKR provides them with browser-based collaboration software. The platform supports Japanese-English, Korean-English, and Chinese-English translations, with plans to add more languages. Some publishers, such as Kuaikan Manhua and Mr. Blue, have used INKR to translate thousands of comic book chapters from Chinese and Korean into English.

INKR offers content creators a choice of monetization models, including subscription fees, ad-supported, or pay-per-chapter. Luong says the platform analyzes content to tell publishers which model will maximize their earnings and shares a percentage of the revenue generated.

INKR is competing for attention with other digital comic platforms such as Comixology owned by Amazon and Webtoon, the publishing portal operated by Naver Corporation.

Luong said that INKR’s competitive advantages include the diversity of comic book offerings and the affordability of their prices. Before launch, he also invested in data and AI-powered technology for readers and publishers. For example, users get personalized recommendations based on their reading activity, while publishers can access analytics to track title performance based on consumer trends.

In a statement, Monk’s Hill Ventures general partner Justin Nguyen said that INKR’s “proprietary AI-based platform is addressing pain points for creators and publishers who need to be digital and global, localize for many languages ​​in a way fast and cost-effective while helping them improve reach and readership through smart custom feeds and analytics. We look forward to partnering with them to meet the huge demand for translated comics globally. “

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