Grit Stories

The most resilient Indian startup you haven’t heard of

July 23, 2021

The most resilient Indian startup you haven’t heard of

Grit Stories
The most resilient Indian startup you haven’t heard of
 Mins Read
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2:44 - 3:45: Baskars Story; Coming from a small time; being dyslexic but still finding a connect with the computers
3:45:20 - 5:14:09: First business stint in grade 11! Building financial products from small businesses!
07:45:23-09:19: Making the decision of leaving Texas Instruments although being a top coder there and thoughts on starting up
16:34-19:06: Amagi Story: Empowering the smaller players to advertise on TV!
20:30-22:36: Challenges faced operationally; Extensive traveling in tier-2 cities; facing the cable mafia and getting them onboard!
25:23-28:34: Facing the problem of scale and changing the targeting through research on larger brands
32:48-39:03: Friction with the TV channels; Broadcasters v/s Amagi
35:51-38:59: Changing the model and almost starting afresh; tough times as a founder!
41:16-44:22: Grit of continuing even during tough times; Unconditional support from the employees

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise” - Frank Ocean

Amagi Media Labs is a great example of fuss-free success in the otherwise chaotic world of startups. The first thing to note is that Amagi is a seasoned old veteran among its youthful peers - founded in 2008, Amagi is a SaaS platform that enables TV networks and content owners to distribute and monetize content across different platforms. 

In May 2021, they posted an annual revenue growth of 136%. 

In the latest episode of Grit Stories, I spoke with Baskar Subramanian, founder and CEO of Amagi. Baskar has been an internet entrepreneur and startup founder since before either of those terms were really a thing. Having started and sold his first startup in his mid 20s, Baskar, along with a group of friends, started looking for new problems to solve. 

The group set their sights on disrupting television advertising with technology, the startup that became Amagi.

In this podcast, Baskar talks about: 

  • His humble beginnings from Coimbatore, how being left handed and dyslexic had a huge impact on why he was drawn to computers in the first place. 
  • Lessons from Impulsoft, his first exit: why it is important to focus on the market instead of building the solution first, why it isn’t possible to sustain only with software and more.
  • The beginnings of Amagi: the vision of enabling local advertisers, that too at a scale of 3000+ cities, why and how this vision was embraced by the advertisers but not the everyone else. 
  • On the road experience during Amagi’s sales years - learning about gun licenses (yes you read that right), navigating a 2-sided challenge in a legacy industry, and negotiating with powerful people 
  • How they found their ‘growth hack’ : buying 30 second ad spots, and setting up a studio within to create ads 
  • Their year of grit - 2017, when they had to pivot, faced layoffs, and aligned the board to new goals and objectives 
  • The ecosystem evolving and Amagi now: what clicked so companies like Roku, and YouTube TV are now onboard 

The startup ecosystem, Indian or international, sometimes focuses too much on the loud and the noisy. But there’s another kind of startup, quiet, tough and resilient, focused on their business and their goals. It’s clear which kind Amagi is, and this was a great insight into the people behind it.

Amagi has been in the future since 2008, and we wish them the best with their rocketship.

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