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INKR raises $ 3.1 million to make more comics accessible to global audiences – TechCrunch

The INKR digital comic platform team

INKR is a digital comic book platform that transcends cultural and linguistic divides, enabling creators to reach global audiences through its proprietary localization technology. Previously booted, the company today announced that it has raised $ 3.1 million in pre-Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures, with the participation of founder and CEO of manga distributor TokyoPop, Stu Levy.

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 claims that since its launch in October 2020, its average monthly users have increased by 200%. He currently partners with more than 70 content creators and editors, including FanFan, Image Comics, Kodansha USA, Kuaikan, Mr. Blue, SB Creative, TokyoPop and Toons Family, and currently has more than 800 titles, including manga, webtoons and graphics. novels.

Luong, CEO of INKR, told TechCrunch that the platform will initially focus on translated comics from the world’s top publishers, but plans to open up to small and independent creators in 2022.

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

“Localization of comics is more than just translation. This is a tedious process with many steps involving many people: file management, transcription, translation, composition, sound effects, quality control, etc. Luong said.

INKR raises $ 3.1 million to make more comics accessible to global audiences – TechCrunch

Some titles on INKR

In addition to language, editors should also take into account the differences in comic styles across the world, including Japanese manga, Chinese manhua, Korean manhwa, and American comics. For example, comics can be presented page by page or use vertical scrolling. Some languages ​​are read from left to right, while others are read from right to left.

Luong says that INKR’s proprietary AI engine, called INKR Comics Vision, is able to recognize different formats and elements on a comic book page, including text, dialogue, characters, facial expressions, backs. -plans and panels. INKR Localize, its tool for human translators, helps them deliver accurate translations faster by automating tasks such as text transcription, vocabulary suggestions, and typesetting.

Since tracking 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, like Kuaikan Manhua and Mr. Blue, have used INKR to translate thousands of comic book chapters from Chinese and Korean to English.

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

INKR competes for attention with other digital comic book platforms like Comixology and Webtoon, owned by Amazon, the publishing portal operated by Naver Corporation.

Luong said that INKR’s competitive advantages include the variety of comics it offers and the affordability of its prices. Before launching, he also invested in data-driven and AI-driven technologies for readers and publishers. For example, users receive personalized recommendations based on their reading activity, while publishers can access analytics to track title performance based on consumption trends.

In a statement, Justin Nguyen, General Partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, said that “INKR’s proprietary AI-powered platform solves challenges for creators and publishers who need to go digital and go digital. international, by localizing quickly and cost-effectively into many languages ​​while helping them improve their reach. ” and readership through intelligent personalized analytics and feeds. We look forward to partnering with them to meet the huge demand for translated comics globally. “

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