Ali Albazaz (Founder, CEO) © Nils Lucas
What inspired you to found your startup?
Inkitt started in 2013 as a side project. I was building a community for authors to give each other feedback. From the start I was building the site together with about 100 writers who were contributing feature ideas and even helped pick the name “Inkitt”. Later when the community reached thousands of writers and readers, I came up with the idea to analyse the reading behavior of the readers and develop an algorithm that can predict bestsellers. That’s when I decided to turn it into a company.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
We believe that every writer in the world deserves an equal chance to succeed. That’s why our mission is to be the fairest and most objective publisher in the world – finding hidden talents and turning them into globally successful authors. One day you’ll open the New York Times Bestsellers List and the majority of the books will be from Inkitt, by authors who may have otherwise never gotten the chance.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
Of course. A LOT. As an entrepreneur you can make a lot of mistakes which I did and learned from. I wouldn’t repeat them again if I were to encounter the same situation. There are probably hundreds of them.
What problem does your product solve?
We solve gut feeling-driven decisions that crush authors’ dreams. Harry Potter was rejected by 13 editors, Twilight by 14 editors, and even Stephen King’s first book Carrie was rejected by 30 editors. And, how many great authors who could have become the next J. K. Rowling gave up after the second or third rejection?At Inkitt we present a solution to this problem by analysing the reading patterns of readers on scale in order to make a publishing decision. If readers love a book, we publish it.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
In 10 years, we want every single professional author on earth to know Inkitt as the fairest and most objective publisher in the world. By reaching that, we’ll have become the world’s largest book publisher.
How are you different?
For over 200 years now acquisition editors at publishing houses have been making decisions based on their gut feeling, a lot of which turned out to be the wrong one. Inkitt makes decisions by analysing the reading patterns of readers. If a statistically significant sample size of readers love the story, we publish it. So far we’ve published 22 books out of which, 20 became bestsellers.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
For authors that have their books up on Inkitt, every day because they’re going to want to check analytics, reader feedback, chapter reads, etc. For readers, depending on how avid they are or if they’re currently hooked on a book that’s on the site it can be as much as seven days a week.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
By bringing fairness and objectivity into the publishing industry and making the dreams of thousands of talented authors come true. We don’t care if you’re brand new to the publishing scene, we don’t mind if your genre has controversial tendencies, if readers love your book, we’ll publish it.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
I came to Berlin in 2012 when I was working on my previous startup. The network has become much stronger and bigger. I think the biggest value adds are communities like the BuildersNetwork on Slack.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
It’s definitely the best city in Europe to run a startup. It’s relatively cheap, good access to talent and capital. However, there are also a lot of people who move to Berlin just for the nightlife and the electronic music scene; it’s definitely a big distraction.
Inkitt was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.