Bengaluru: Publishing books in vernacular languages is the biggest challenge that regional writers grapple with. Intrigued by this problem faced by a large number of writers, Karuvilla Chacko, being a writer himself, founded Valmeeki, a virtual publishing house for emerging writers through a mobile application.
Having worked as a journalist with one of the country’s leading English-language newspapers and written a couple of books, Chacko was quick-enough to understand the problems of the regional writers. “The whole idea of starting Valmeeki was to help regional writers publish their work. We merge technology with online scouting system to publish their books in softcopy format. Through a proper scouting process, we ensure that the work is of high quality,” he said.
Today, Valmeeki has over 400 writers, publishing their books in four different languages such as Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and Tamil. The company plans to expand it into 12 other languages by the end of 2017. “Valmeeki gets about 150 downloads a day,” adds Chacko.
He said that more than a dozen of writers who published their work on the Valmeeki app have bagged contracts from major publishing houses and movie industry.
The Kochi-based start-up, which has recently moved to Bengaluru, aims to increase the exposure of young regional writers. “They hardly get any exposure unless they are celebrities, established writers or backed by famous publishing houses. We would like to take the work of local writers and make them celebrities by connecting them to global audience,” he explained.
The large number of Indian diaspora living abroad, likes to read in vernacular languages. However, they do not have a proper platform that caters to their need. “Even in India, there are over 200 million mobile users who want to read on their phone. At Valmeeki, we are trying to fulfil the gap,” said Chacko.
Having raised funds from angel investors and startup accelerators such as NUMA Bengaluru, the company is planning to grow in the coming years. “NUMA gave us a huge marketing support, brought us to Bengaluru and connected us with many literary groups,” said Chacko.
Currently working with tier 2 and tier 3 writers, Valmeeki looks forward to creating a trend wherein top celebrities and writers come forward....