Inkspired is an Ecuadorian platform founded in 2014, which allows emerging independent writers from around the world to publish their stories, books or short stories in various digital formats, thus creating their own community of readers. Likewise, it is a space that allows users to have access to thousands of stories, connecting with great writers.
Currently, the platform has more than 800,000 users made up of writers and readers, who are publishing more than 1000 stories a day, with almost 5 million minutes invested in daily reading.
The platform has gone through several product and technology transitions since its initial launch, with the goal of being the ally for creators who want to generate revenue for their stories.
Inkspired engaged Thoughtworks Ecuador, through an office initiative called Prototype.lab(), which aims to help Ecuadorian entrepreneurs and artists to potentialize their product. They came with a problem to explore: How to reach a wider audience and accelerate growth, and how to help that audience to monetize their content.
Achieving this ambitious goal meant growing Inkspired’s audience, to include not only emerging writers, but also more established writers with an interest in monetizing their work.
A key point of differentiation for this platform is the way in which they verify content to ensure that it is suitable for all audiences, that it does not contain explicit adult content or profanity such as insults, and to show higher quality content recommendations to readers. This verification has to occur before the story can be made available on the platform. Inkspired wanted to streamline the previously-manual process of content classification, to enable them to upload more stories to the platform in less time, resulting in higher quality content, with better recommendations, that adds value to the brand. Quality content creates a higher level of interest from readers and other parties who are willing to pay writers for their work.
Inkspired partnered with Thoughtworks Ecuador in two areas: product and technology. Despite the large influx of users, the platform is not yet considered profitable. Its founders hypothesize that the problem lies in the consistency between the business model and the characteristics of its current audience. Inkspired currently bets on an audience that enjoys writing stories, without a high level of story verification, but they have a vision of getting its users to write stories and have them verified by the platform.
Thoughtworks created a strategy that allowed Inkspired to learn more about the business and its opportunities, as well as its users, their problems and their needs. With the learnings obtained, the team designed a flexible and scalable product framework, allowing the Inkspired team to maintain a process of continuous improvement of its products in the future. A low-fidelity prototype experiment was created to test a new way to communicate Inkspired's value proposition in a simpler way, and a new way to sell premium subscriptions.
On the technological side, an opportunity was seen to improve the story verification process, changing it from a manual to an automated process. Automating the story verification process allows the organization to scale the verification system to different languages, processing content in an automatic and safer way, aligned to the platform's content guidelines.
A Machine Learning algorithm was created to improve the verification process and speed it up from 25 to 1,000 verified stories per day.
The technical solution focused on an exploratory prototype of a Machine Learning solution for text classification and spelling verification. For this, Thoughtworks Ecuador and Inkspired used MeaningCloud, which offers a set of semantic APIS focused on extracting content from all types of unstructured content such as social conversations, articles, dossiers, books, etc. The algorithm combines document classification with rule-based filtering, which allows a high degree of accuracy and flexibility, and the user (Inkspired) can create his own categories and classification models to make use of this API.
This project was carried out through Prototype.lab(), an internal program of Thoughtworks Ecuador, created to help Ecuadorian entrepreneurs and artists to potentialize their product by validating that an innovative technological solution is required. This group, a leader in the technological field, helped Inkspired to resize their conceptual project -to develop much more concise and structured ideas- and to guide them in software innovation issues.
It would have been difficult to make this process so fast and effective without the help of Thoughtworks Ecuador. Participating in the Prototype.lab(), has been totally worthwhile and overall a great experience. I recommend all Ecuadorian entrepreneurs who want professional support for their idea or product to apply as soon as possible
Inkspired's General Manager, Galo Vargas,shared that working with Prototype.lab() represented a pivotal moment for his company. Previously they wanted to become the ‘Netflix of books.’ Now their focus has changed. In the future they want to be a partner of such streaming platforms by becoming a repository of stories in different interactive formats, written, video, etc. so that later, these incredible stories can be sold to big brands like Netflix, Amazon or Disney.
Nothing would make us happier than to have creators, whether one or several, become global Best Sellers and come from Inkspired.