Transcript: Bags 2 Riches — Allen Lau | Simplii

[upbeat music]

[Looking across Lake Ontario on a bright summer’s day with the sun shining and a few wispy clouds dotting the sky, tens upon tens of high-rise residential and office buildings of all shapes and size line the water’s edge of the Toronto skyline. In the centre of the frame the CN Tower stands looming tall over the bright white dome of the Rogers Centre situated just left of the tower’s base.]

[The curved buildings of Toronto City Hall, with several floors of glass facing each other stand tall behind the fountain in Nathan Phillips Square. The fountain is a large, rectangular shape of mostly calm water. In the middle about 20 water jets shoot water straight up into the air. Three well spaced apart concrete arches stretch from one side of the fountain to the other. Behind city hall are numerous high-rise residential and office buildings of all shapes, sizes, and colours.]

[The Gooderham Building, a dark brown, triangular-shaped, mid-rise office building, is situated in the middle of a busy downtown Toronto street. On the left, many cars approach in several lanes of traffic. Behind the Flatiron Building stand several skyscrapers made primarily of glass. The CN Tower is stands tall in the far distance behind the skyscrapers.]

[Allen Lau sits in the open concept Wattpad workplace. The details of the workplace are blurred but illustrate an airy, open space with a multi-shade light brown brick wall as the exterior wall. Three well-spaced minimalist white desks abut the brick walls that run between large floor-to-ceiling windows. This scene repeats frequently.]

[Close-up images of Allen Lau in the Wattpad workspace. First Allen stands looking to his left in front of a large glass window, with a blurred exterior image. Next, Allen sits at one of the desks working on a laptop computer. These scenes repeat throughout.]

[A close-up of a person’s hands holding a smartphone at one of the white desks in the office. The person’s right thumb touches the screen and swipes up, and the indistinct words subsequently scroll as well.]

>> Allen Lau: One of my many ideas was to create a way for people to read books on the cell phone.

[Still image of Wattpad’s co-founders, Allen Lau on the left and Ivan Yuen on the right, standing in front of the interior brick wall of the Wattpad workspace. This scene repeats.]

[An orange coffee mug with a centered white “Wattpad” logo sits on a white table in the workspace. A hand reaches forward, and the index finger wraps around the handle, pulling it close.]

[A large, flat-screen television hangs on the brick wall in the Wattpad workspace. On the TV screen is a white background with a vibrant orange “Wattpad” logo and an artistic “W”.]

[Allen Lau sits at a laptop in a darkened area of the Wattpad workspace. An image of a book cover scrolls to the left of the laptop screen and the next image displays several lines of indistinct text.]

>> Allen Lau: So, in 2006, I co-founded Wattpad, a digital platform for aspiring writers to publish their works and for readers to read it all for free.

[A silhouette outline of a person sits looking at a computer screen with a webpage that has a white background and orange text that reads “Hi, we’re Wattpad,” followed by several lines of indistinct text and two orange boxes with text where users can click.]

[The words “The World’s Most Popular Digital Storytelling Platform” are shown on screen with scrolling images in the background. First, “The World’s” is displayed over a 20-or-so year old picture of the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower looming above many of the skyscrapers just being built with cranes on top. Next, “Most Popular” is written across an image of several young-teenaged schoolchildren all crowding together, smiling at the camera, holding up various books. Next, “Digital’ appears in front a computer screen with a white background and indistinct text. “Storytelling” appears in front of a different computer screen with a book on the left and indistinct text on the right. Next, the word, “Platform” is written over a black and white close-up of hands holding a smartphone.]

[Allen Lau stands smiling in front of a wall of large three or four-foot posters mounted on a dark wall. The posters are blurred but indicate book covers. The book covers feature two or three people and the titles of the books.]

>> Allen Lau: Today, Wattpad is the world's most popular digital storytelling platform, and it’s grown into a global media platform.

[Still of two Wattpad Presents television shows. The first background of the image is a bubble gum pink. On the left are the words “Wattpad Presents Mistakenly Meant For You”. On the right, two young actors stand, a girl, Isabelle De Leon, on the left, and a boy, Carl Guevara, on the right, their outer arms reaching up and over their heads to come together in the shape of a heart. Next, a TV Show titled “Wattpad Presents Destined by: Blue_Maiden”, indicating an airtime of 9 pm Saturday. In the image, two similarly aged young 20-something males ,both dressed in black suits with white button-down shirts, stare at each other while the image of a similarly aged girl stands behind looking to the person on the right.]

[Still images of book covers cycle. First, a book titled “Through My Window” by Ariana Godoy, with a circle indicating it as a Netflix Feature Film. The image of the book shows a young woman seated, and a young man standing close, their noses almost touching, eyes closed, as if about to embrace in a kiss. The next book, “Still With Me” by Jessica Cunsolo, has an image of the backs of a young man and woman, arms locked around each other, the woman’s head resting on the shoulder of the man. The next books are two books stacked one in front of the other. The book in front has a rolling fantasy script with the title “I’m a Gay Wizard” by V.S. Santoni. The book resting behind has a title that is indistinct but is written by Micah Good.]

>> Allen Lau: Producing TV shows, feature films and publishing books.

[Allen Lau, Co-Founder — Wattpad]

[Allen, smiling, stands in front of a blurred background of a green courtyard surrounded by several high-rise office buildings.] 

>> Allen Lau: My name is Allen Lau, and this is my “Bags 2 Riches” story.

[Gentle music]

[A dotted pink line emerges from centre left of the screen leading to the centre, to a black and white image of several old-timey suitcases are shown appearing through a large camera lens.

[The camera lens with suitcases fades to the background while the dotted pink line continues on and expands as marks on a black and white flight board reading “Airport Departures”. Several flight destinations appear under the headings “Time”, “City”, and “Flight”.]

[The airport departures screen fades while a bring pink circle appears close to the screen, then decreases rapidly in size following the airport departures screen. A close-up view of a black and map showing Canada, Greenland on the left and parts of Europe on the right, appears. An airplane takes off from an area in France, heading towards Canada, a trail of bright pink dots following the flight path of the airplane.]

[From the centre of the screen a large camera lens now surrounded by a bright pink circle rapidly increases in size, breaking up the solid line to form pink dots around the camera lens. Inside the lens are a number of black and white passport stamps indicating various countries and dates. In the centre “CANADA” clearly stands out in bold lettering.]

[A pink circle emerges from the centre of the screen, starting small and rapidly expanding replacing the images of the passport stamps. The title, “BAGS 2 RICHES” in bright pink lettering appear in the centre of the screen, while the words “Simplii Financial” are shown at the bottom right of the title in white lettering, all against a plain black screen.]

[Title: Bags 2 Riches, Simplii Financial]

[Gentle music]

[A very faded image of the Hong Kong harbour. In the water are several large warships facing all different directions. The coastline of the water is heavily surrounded by many large multi-level towers of all shapes and sizes.]

[Title: Hong Kong, China. A double-decker bus rumbles from the foreground toward the background along a very heavily trafficked street at night. Many large neon signs with Chinese writing shine brightly against the dark of the night.]

[Still images cycle. First, a black and white image of an infant Allen sitting in his mother’s arms while his father has his right arm wrapped around the shoulder of his mother. They are seated on a blanket at a beach, smiling at the camera. The next image shows a school-aged Allen standing between his father, on the left, and mother, on the right, in front of planks of wood held by risers underneath creating tiered stadium seating. The next image shows a teenaged Allen sitting at an old Apple II computer, head turned far to the right, to look at the camera. The computer has a large CRT monitor mounted above two large black boxes with a white typewriter-style keyboard.]

>> Allen Lau: I was born in Hong Kong. I distinctly remember when I was maybe 11, 12 years old, my father bought an Apple II computer,

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the workspace.]

The first application that I built was a puzzle game. It was a Mickey Mouse image. The application would kind of randomize it into like, 16 pieces of puzzle, and you move them around, and then you, you can reassemble it and complete the puzzle.

[Photograph of a school aged Allen standing beside a large four-or five-foot tall model of a space shuttle.]

>> Allen Lau: For a 12-year-old to not only play that game, but to build that game, it was quite something.

[Photograph of a toddler Allen sitting on his bottom, knees up in front, elbows resting on his knees, on a flat rocky surface. Allen is staring at a rock that encompasses the entire space of his cupped-together palms. In the background are two large mountains covered with trees.]

>> Allen Lau: I wasn't behind the immigration idea. We started to have that conversation like, in the mid-80s when I was in high school. To move to a country, it takes a lot of courage, a lot of planning.

[Photograph of a young school aged Allen standing next to his mother and father, who are seated at a table in a restaurant. The three are all looking at the camera, smiling. Behind them are several large, round tables with people all focused on eating.]

[Photograph of a teenaged Allen standing with his parents in a kitchen. Allen is holding a crab in one hand and a fish in the other over a yellow bowl that his mother his holding. Allen’s father has his hand resting on Allen’s mother’s arm. The three are all smiling.]

[The Toronto skyline as seen from the water. The lights on all of the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers light up the skyline. The sun’s glow can be seen as yellow on the right, and as the sped-up time passes, the glow eventually extends to the left of the image in a bright red colour.]

>> Allen Lau: They sold the condo that we had, they both quit the job, basically just pack up, and in July 1987, we moved to Toronto.

[Title: Toronto, Ontario. A fast-motion evening view of the Toronto waterfront over the calm waters of Lake Ontario. To the left stands the CN Tower. The densely packed downtown highrises make up the rest of the skyline. In all the buildings, windows are lit.]

[On the left, the large round observation decks of the CN Tower gradually emerge in the distance and move toward the centre of the screen. The top three floors of two buildings are in the foreground, the closest image still under construction with a crane on the top.]

[A close-up of a street sign with the words “Toronto’s Discovery District, Elm St.” is hung at the top of a skinny, square pole with many holes. On the left is a large silver electrical pole. The ends of leafy green branches of a large tree cover the right side of the image. The words “Downtown Toronto” rest in the lower left corner.]

[Street view of a light white brick building with two windows close together. Beneath the windows, hung on the wall, are the words “Toronto Chinese Catholic Centre” with Chinese writing above. Below the words a glass canopy juts out over the sliding doors beneath. The numbers “200” and “202” appear on columns on either side of the sliding doors.]

[Close-up of a white cross hanging above an arched doorway of a church. The church is of light white bricks. On either side of the arched doorway are large brick columns, and to the further outer side of each column are tall, skinny stained-glass windows.]

[A narrow city street lined with tightly packed parallel-parked cars on the right. On the left of the driving path is enough room for one car to drive by. Large, looming, leafy green trees heavily line both sides of the street.]

[A close-up of Allen standing in a residential city street with a blurred image of brown townhouses on the right.]

>> Allen Lau: This is the area that we landed because my grandparents were living in a house in this neighborhood, and we were living there for almost a year.

[Close-up of a street sign with the words “Elm St” that is attached to a large concrete pole by silver bands. Below the street sign is another sign that reads “No Standing” with various times listed. In the distance the steeple of the church leading upwards to a dark black roof at the top of the steeple. The tops of various mid-rise buildings line the sidewalk leading up to the church.]

[A large city street with a tree-lined median down the centre. Heavy car and transport truck traffic is driving to the foreground. Beside the traffic a red Toronto Transit Commission streetcar drives along the tracks in the same direction. In the background, a light-coloured brick building with several peaks peers over the large, leafy green trees in the street’s median.]

[Photograph of a teenaged Allen with two older family members, one on each side, all sitting at a round table in a restaurant. The table is dotted with several teacups and bowls. Allen sits with his arms crossed.]

[1980s photograph of Allen standing with his mother and father in front of a red brick house with a bright yellow door. The numerals “184” in white are affixed to the brick. Three large classic cars are parked around the front and side of the house.]

>> Allen Lau: It was quite an adjustment. The language obviously was different. The culture was very different. The lesson that I had learned, I would not take anything for granted. I tried to hustle, and I tried to work hard and create my own future.

[Close-up of a corner of a painting showing an orange tugboat with the word “Wattpad” on the side of the boat.]

[Close-up writing of the word “Wattpad” in orange surrounded by various other indistinct words in black writing on a wall in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Close-up of a Motorola flip-phone with the words “Chapter 1. Loomings. Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I…”]

>> Allen Lau: The original idea of Wattpad was we recognized that a lot of people would be reading on a device that they carry all the time, and that's the mobile device.

[Close-up of Allen working on a laptop in the workspace.]

[Archaic YouTube webpage layout with the words “You Tube Broadcast Yourself” in the top left. Underneath are several blue tabs with the words “Home”, “Videos”, “Channels”, “Groups”, Categories”, and “Upload”. Beneath are several indistinct thumbnails and video titles. On the right is a log-in panel for username and password, with the words “Broadcast Yourself on You Tube”.]

[Facebook log-in page. At the top is a banner that says, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.” On the left are further instructions, “Use Facebook to…Keep up with friends and family, share photos and videos, control privacy online, reconnect with old classmates.” On the right is a box to sign up for Facebook indicating name, email, password, and birthdate members enter to join.]

>> Allen Lau: We also recognized that people would be sharing their, their writings freely on the Internet. YouTube was one year old. Facebook was two years old. But keep in mind it was in 2006.

[Four 2G-era cell phones lie side by side on a glass shelf.]

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

>> Allen Lau: It was before iPhone, before Android, and e-reading. Kindle didn't exist. We had the chicken and egg problem, without any audience, without any readers. We don't have any writers, but without any writers we would not be able to attract the readers. So, the way we tackled that was we utilized our public domain books.

[Covers of several novels cycle. First “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Next, “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. Next, “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville.]

>> Allen Lau: Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’ works, Moby Dick, however, reading classic books on the mobile phone, we didn't know whether it would work or not. 

[Eva Lau, Managing Partner, Co-Founder, Two Small Fish Ventures] 

[Eva sits in a large living room. Blurred in the background is brown bookcase with books displayed at the top and bottom, in the centre a large black panel with a flat-screen television mounted in the middle, and on the right, a light-coloured display shelf. This scene repeats frequently.]

>> Eva Lau: I remember when Allen first mentioned about Wattpad to me.

[A blurry photograph of younger Eva and Allen Lau standing close together, heads resting on each other, both smiling brightly at the camera.]

>> Eva Lau: I was on my mat leave with my firstborn child. 

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

>> Allen Lau: I still remember that look on her face. 

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: I was like, seriously, why would people do that?

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

>> Allen Lau: That look on her face was basically telling me, you’re such an idiot. 

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: Why would people read on the phone this tiny, with no more than 15 lines? 

[Photograph of 20-somethings Eva and Allen sitting on a puffy red couch. Eva is holding a small white dog in her lap. Next, a photograph of 20-somethings Allen and Eva standing beside a bright royal blue Volkswagen Beetle. The car is parked on a red brick driveway in front of a darker red brick house.]

>> Allen Lau: I was telling her, we’re going to do this mobile reading, user generated content thing. And in a year this company is going to be worth a billion dollars.

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: I clicked when I saw the sparkle in his eyes. 

[Repeat photograph of Allen’s mother and father standing in the kitchen while Allen holds a crab.]

[Photograph of Allen’s parents on either side of Allen, who is standing proudly in academic regalia.] 

>> Allen Lau: My father passed away already at that time. I didn't tell my mother because I think she would freak out. (Laughs)

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

[Photograph of Allen standing in a room with white painted walls, holding a tablet with the word “Wattpad”.]

>> Eva Lau: So, when he decided to really get Wattpad going, I said, “Sure,” you know. “We’ll just go all in. Worst case, if we lose our house, we just start all from the beginning.” 

[Still image of Wattpad’s co-founders, Allen Lau on the left, and Ivan Yuen on the right, standing in front of the multi-coloured interior brick wall of the workspace. In the bottom right corner the words “Ivan Yuen, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder — Wattpad” rest on a black banner.]

[Photograph of young Allen and Ivan. Ivan is seated on the concrete steps leading away from a brick house, while Allen is standing on one step, with his right foot raised on the next step and knee bent.]

>> Allen Lau: My co-founder, Ivan, and I, we built the product, roll this out, and see what happens.

[Photograph of Allen wearing a Wattpad branded t-shirt, holding a tablet with the Wattpad app loaded, in front of a vinyl sign with the Wattpad logo, which is hung on a white wall.]

[Photograph of 12 young adults standing in a group in a white-walled office space. The members are all wearing white t-shirts with orange lettering stating “Wattpad Meetup”, and are smiling at the camera.]

>> Allen Lau: We were so excited when we launch and we hope that the first year we would have a million users.

[Close-up of Allen Lau standing outdoors with a very blurred green park in the background. Allen looks off to the left of the screen, deep in thought with eyebrows furled above his glasses. This scene repeats.] 

>> Allen Lau: And it turned out, after a few months, we had not even 1,000 users.

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: The first year of Wattpad certainly was a big disappointment. 

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

>> Allen Lau: No one uploaded anything. We, we were struggling. 

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: It was so hard that, I remember for a month — actually, for many months — we got a cheque from Google for the ad revenue. It was 2 dollars. (Laughs) 

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Photograph of 10 Wattpad employees in their 20s and 30s seated closely together smiling at the camera in front of a plain white wall. Allen and Eva are seated in the middle with three employees to their left and four to their right. Ivan is seated at the back of the group. This scene repeats.]

>> Allen Lau: We even thought about, should we pull the plug. One of us was saying, “Well, you know, our hosting costs us only 5 dollars per month and so, we are 5 dollars away from breaking even. Let's continue.”

[A cathode ray tube monitor rests on a light wooden surface with a bright blue and orange background behind. On the monitor, a video plays of Steve Jobs standing on a stage to the left looking at a large screen to the right with a picture of an iPhone and a stylus.]

[An early model iPhone with the square home button in the bottom centre is encased in a silver protective case, lying on a dark brown surface. A single finger comes into the screen from the bottom centre and presses the home button. The iPhone wakes and on the screen are 17 equally spaced apps.]

[Close-up image of two hands holding an e-reader with a black case and a white screen. On the screen are 25 to 30 lines of indistinct text. Next, a close-up of the screen with smaller text and twice as many lines with a finger touching the screen and swipes up, with the texting scrolling at the same time.]

>> Allen Lau: The defining moments was the iPhone came out in the middle of 2007. It has a larger screen, you can read very easily, and around the same time, the first Kindle launched. So, the concept of reading on an electronic device wasn't a foreign concept anymore. The industry trends was kind of helping us. 

[Photograph of 20-somethings Allen and Eva standing in front a dark brown wooden fence with large, leafy green trees behind. Allen is standing tall on the left and smiling at the camera. Eva, on the right, is holding a can of Pepsi in one hand and balancing a Styrofoam plate with a plastic fork in the other. Eva is smiling at the camera.]

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

[Repeat image of 10 Wattpad employees seated around Allen and Eva in a white office space.]

>> Eva Lau: That's when I get involved. I worked in this industry for a long time. I knew what needs to happen in order for them to really get going. 

[Repeat image of Allen and Ivan standing in the Wattpad workspace, this time shown to be in a light brown picture frame.]

>> Allen Lau: And two years after we started the company, the first writer uploaded the first fictional story on Wattpad. That was an incredible moment.

[A bright pink book cover with the author’s name, Loridee de Villa, and “Some relationships need reinvention” in blue letters at the top of the cover. Below are three separate cartoon images of young adults. The first is a man carrying a woman on his back. The second image is a man with his arms wrapped around a woman’s legs, lifting her straight up into the air. The third image is a man and a woman walking, holding hands. Below the images the title is written in white lettering, “How to be the Best Third Wheel”. Behind the title is the image of a young adult woman with her chin resting on her palm and the elbow of the same arm resting in the palm of her other hand, with her arm folded across her midsection. At the bottom is the Wattpad Books logo.]

>> Allen Lau: It was a teenager writing a teenage romance story.

[In the Wattpad workspace, a wooden cutout image of a three-dimensional street stands tall, reaching almost to the ceiling, where there is a bright skylight right above. On the ends of each of the wood branches are oval cut-outs indicating leaves, with various writing and colours on each of the ovals.]

[Next, a close-up of some of the ovals show four or fives lines of indistinct text. Printed on the other side are book titles. Two book titles, “Frost” and “After”, are legible on two of the ovals.]

>> Allen Lau: Writers, when they write content, the only way to find the audience was to go through a publisher.

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

[Close-up images of the leaf ovals continue. A grey oval reads “Wattpad is a true champion for independent writers. Thanks for giving us a voice and for all the support!” A light blue oval bears the words “It’s like you are my dreamland. I’m writing and reading my dreams at the same time. It makes me happy.” The next oval has a faint picture of a woman walking down a paved path in a green park with the words over top “Being on Wattpad is not a hobby. It’s a lifestyle.”]

>> Eva Lau: On Wattpad, you allow people to share their stories and no gatekeeper to say “Nope, it's not good enough.”

[A laptop that is turned on and open to the Wattpad logo rests on a very clean white table desk in front of the brick wall of the Wattpad space. A light is shining down on the laptop. Allen emerges from the unlit left and takes a seat in an office chair at the desk. Allen smiles at the laptop.]

>> Allen Lau: And most importantly, it’s the interaction. We also connect the readers and the writers.

[Still images of several books scroll. First, a bubble-gum pink with the Wattpad Books logo in blue at the top, the title “Float” scrolled across the middle, and the author’s name, Kate Marchant, at the bottom. Two women holding surfboards are shown at either edge of the cover above the title, and two men holding surfboards, below.]

[The next book is a very dark black and blue cover with a close-up of a woman on right left whispering into a man’s ear. The title “Perfect Addiction” is in large, bright pink lettering in the centre of the book with “The Perfect Series” written underneath in white, and the author’s name, Claudia Tan, in bright yellow lettering underneath.]

[The next two books are repeat images of “Through My Window” and “Still With Me”.]

[The final book has a cartoon drawing of a man dressed in a tuxedo looking off to one side. A woman dressed in an elegant red dress with large gold hoop earrings has her right arm wrapped tightly around the man’s arm, and her other hand coming up to hold his arm as well. The woman is looking off in the other direction. The title of the book “Off Script” is written in large, loose script in the centre of the cover, with the author’s name, Ashley Marie, written underneath.]

>> Allen Lau: The readers, they can post their feedback. “Oh wow, this story is so amazing. I can't wait for the next chapter.” And that gave a lot of the motivation to the writer to keep going.

[Jeanne Lam, Former President — Wattpad]

[Jeanne Lam is seated in the large, open Wattpad workspace. This scene repeats.]

>> Jeanne Lam: Our writers will tell us, “Thank you for creating Wattpad. I've now found a voice.”

[Still photographs cycle. First, hundred of young adults are all gathered together facing forward. Allen is in the bottom right of the image smiling at the camera. Next, a long black table in a large, open space in a multi-level shopping mall. Seated on the left side of the table are ten authors all busily signing books. On the right of the table is a group of about 30 young adults standing, eager to have books signed. In the distance is a crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people gathered, waiting to have books signed. The next image is a group of about 20 teenaged girls all holding several books with all different covers, smiling at the camera.]

[Allen is seated at a table in the Wattpad workspace. In front is an off-set laptop computer with indistinct text scrolling up on the page.]

>> Allen Lau: The number of writers and readers on the platform, they all grew exponentially. We have close to 90 million monthly users around the world, of which about five million are writers, and they share a million new chapters every day, in 50 languages, in every country around the world. 

[Jeanne is seated across the table from Allen in the Wattpad workspace, engaged in conversation and laughing.]

[Close-up image of Jeanne speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Repeat image of two books, “I’m a Gay Wizard” by V.S. Santoni, and a book resting behind with an indistinct title, but written by Micah Good.]

[Several different Wattpad books of different sizes, with different covers lie on a small, white, round table in the Wattpad workspace with brick wall behind. The scene closes in on a book titled “Lab Partners” by M. Montgomery. On the cover of the book is a cartoon school scene with a chalkboard in the background with chemical molecules on it. In the foreground, two young adult males stand close together, looking at each other squarely.]

>> Jeanne Lam: I fell in love with the company. Once I understood that we were truly in the business of giving people voice and allowing marginalized voices to tell their stories. And stories that could never be found on bookshelves otherwise, get read by millions of people online. It's so powerful.

[Jeanne and Allen are standing outside both smiling at the camera. Behind is a bright, blue summer sky and dotted around the edges of the scene are the edges of several tall, glass skyscrapers.]

[Next, Allen and Jeanne walk through various locations in the Wattpad workspace and then are seated again at the white table looking at the laptop.]

>> Allen Lau: So, in the year 2014, out of the blue, in Philippines, the third largest TV channel, called TV5, they approached us, “Why don't we, we partner, we are very good at production and you are very good at finding the great stories. Why don’t we produce a TV show together?”

[Repeat images of two Wattpad Presents television shows, “Mistakenly Meant For You” and “Destined”.]

>> Allen Lau: And six months later, the TV show called “Wattpad Presents”, it launched in Philippines, and that became the number one young adult show in the country.

[On a dark black screen, in the top and bottom left corners, and centre right, along with a larger image in the middle, red squiggles are drawn and then erased sequentially. The three smaller outside images disappear leaving only the big red image in the centre of the black screen. The squiggles turn into a stylized W, which then shifts up slightly and underneath the words “Wattpad Studios” are printed.]

[Repeat image of Allen Lau standing in front of a dark wall with posters behind.]

>> Allen Lau: After this experiment, in the year 2016, we launched a division called Wattpad Studios. We have about 100 projects that we are actively working on at any given point in time. TV shows in North America, a movie in Europe, or a show for a streaming service in Indonesia.

[On the screen of a computer is an article for University of Toronto with the headline “’A match made in heaven’: Allen Lau on Naver’s US$600-million acquisition of Wattpad”. The words “A match made in heaven” are slowly highlighted in scrolling yellow. Below the headline is a picture of Allen standing in front of the brick wall in Wattpad’s workspace.]

[An internet headline “Wattpad, the storytelling platform, is selling to South Korea’s Naver of $600 million” with the words “selling to South Korea’s Naver for $600 million” highlighted in yellow. Below the headline is a scene from a Wattpad Presents show with a teenaged boy and girl leaning with their backs against black school lockers, turning their heads to look at each other and smile.] 

>> Allen Lau: In January 2021, Wattpad was acquired by Naver for over 600 million US dollars. It was a dream comes true. 

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

[Close-up of a large, clear pyramidal award with the “Startup Canada Awards” logo at the top, a silver circle with the name surrounding an offset maple leaf. Below the logo are engraved the words, “Celebrating Entrepreneurship Wattpad Global Entrepreneurs Award 2018 Ontario, for entrepreneur-led businesses demonstrating excellence.”]

[Another award, a clear rectangular block sitting on top of a brown pyramidal base. On the base is a gold plate with the inscription “2013 ACCE Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurial Awards, Wattpad, Most Innovative Award”.]

[Another award, a large clear glass sheet with the words inscribed “Allen Lau Wattpad” and underneath, “Builders, Innovators summit honoring 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, October 17, 2018”.]

>> Eva Lau: I am more than proud than anything, of his own achievement as a person. 

[Resting against a white wall is a colourful hand painted portrait of a smiling Allen Lau made up of rough brushstrokes. The background of the picture is a dark pink.]

[Jeanne Lam speaks in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Repeat scene of Allen Lau standing outdoors in front of a row of townhouses.]

>> Jeanne Lam: It's also a testament to Canada. Canada is a place where someone who's an immigrant to the country can find success. Raise money, can find incredible talent, then take it to the world stage.

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Eva and Allen Lau sit in a small office space with dark blue walls. Eva’s arms are crossed, resting on a light brown desk. Allen is seated behind in a black desk chair with a bookshelf containing colourful folders behind. To the right of Allen is a large computer screen with a white background and the words “Two Small Fish Ventures” across the middle.]

In a large, glass-walled room, Allen Lau is seated at a white desk with a white Apple laptop on top. Allen is looking over his shoulder at Eva, who is standing on the right, leaning, with her right arm resting on the desk and her left arm bent, her pointer finger just meeting her neck. Eva’s head is turned to look at Allen. The camera angle moves, and Eva and Allen begin talking to each other.]

>> Allen Lau: In 2014, I co-founded a venture fund called Two Small Fish Ventures. I've been investing in the tech ecosystem, kind of giving back through capital, but also through sharing experience to help other startup companies to grow.

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

[Eva and Allen stand outdoors on the other side of the large glass wall, smiling at the camera.]

>> Eva Lau: That’s the whole idea of reinvesting our experience and capital in the next generation of tech giants. 

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

[Repeat scene of Allen Lau seated in a darkened room looking at a bright computer screen with indistinct text.]

[The computer screen changes to the home page for Two Small Fish Ventures. The backdrop is a dusk image of the Toronto skyline with dark purple colours in the sky. Overtop are the words “We invest globally in early-stage, transformative tech companies with strong network effects.” Underneath the text is an orange button a user can click. The screen changes to a white background with the words “Meet our team” centred in the middle and several lines of indistinct text underneath.]

>> Allen Lau: From start, to sprout, to scale, to success, the four S’s, experience is very unique and that's very, very impactful.

[Close-up of Eva Lau speaking in the living room.]

>> Eva Lau: That's what makes Canada, like a centre, and be a leader in the world when it comes to innovation. 

[In the Wattpad workspace Allen Lau slowly walks through, away from the windows. Allen sits down in the furthest chair at a long table with four office chairs. Allen places a laptop on the table and opens the lid to begin looking at it.]

>> Allen Lau: I believe, as an immigrant, giving yourself the financial optionality and making sure you know what the upside is. But also kind of think about the downside, you know. Thinking about these two extremes can help you plan.

[In the Wattpad workspace, the silhouette of Allen walks from the dark towards a window. Outside the window in the foreground are the tops of several large, leafy green trees, and behind, a mixture of city buildings, some mid-rise, some high-rise, of all different building materials.]

>> Allen Lau: One advice to new immigrants is don't just mingle with your friends in your own circle, in your own culture, in your own language. Canada is one of the most inclusive, one of the most diverse, in terms of demographics.

[Outdoors, Allen walks past a garden with tall purple flowers, and behind, several large, leafy green trees. High above the trees is a skyscraper residential building. The camera pans and reveals the trees still to the left of Allen, and behind, many skyscraper buildings reaching up to the sky.]

>> Allen Lau: Just go out and mingle with other people, in other ethnic groups or cultures. Assimilate the Canadian culture more quickly.

[Close-up of Allen speaking in the Wattpad workspace.]

>> Allen Lau: There’s so many things that we can learn from each other, and this is one of the most amazing countries in the world to do that.

[Still photographs cycle. First, a dated photo of a school aged Allen standing proudly between his parents in front of the Toronto City Hall curved buildings. Next, Allen and his parents stand on either side of a judge. An OPP police officer in a blue uniform is on the left and an RCMP officer in a red coat is on the right. They are all standing in front of a white wall with a Canadian flag behind. In front of an old stone university building, Allen is standing in academic regalia holding a white certificate in his hand. His arm is around a younger Eva. On either side of Eva and Allen are two sets of grandparents, and Allen’s father are on the very left.]

>> Allen Lau: When I look back, I'm so grateful to my parents who made the decision to come to Canada. It gave me the environments; it gave me the opportunities to become where I am today. I'm so grateful for that.

[Repeat photograph of Allen’s parents standing with Allen dressed in academic regalia.] 

[Repeat black and white photograph of an infant Allen at the beach with his mother and father.]

>> Allen Lau: My dad passed away nine months before I started Wattpad. I wish he could see that, and if he can see what we have achieved together, I think he would be really, really proud. It means the world to me. 

[melodious music]

[In the Wattpad office space with the brick wall behind, a wooden cut out image of a three-dimensional street stands tall, reaching almost to the ceiling where there is a bright skylight right above.]

[Fade to title]

[Bags 2 Riches

Simplii Financial]

[“Bags 2 Riches” and “Simplii Financial” fade to black.]

[Gentle music ends]