Business Startup Spotlight: Kalaage

Kalaage

Kalaage is sourcing content from people around the world through an automated operation. Writers not only get to write and share their articles, but they get to see it published in reputed magazines and newspapers. We are providing a very strong value proposition and publications are getting to source content with ease.

KalaageName: Kalaage Creations

Location: Gurgaon, India

Website: www.kalaage.net

Product / Service Offering: SaaS based platform connecting writers and publications

Co-founder Interviewed: Raghav Sharma

Other Key Management Team Members: Ravi Piplani, CTO; Himanshu Agarwal, Design Head; Asif Ali, User Growth Head

This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.

Being an avid reader and writer, I was always interested in magazines and print journal and wanted to do something for this field. I was working with Infosys as a Senior Software Engineer when I came out with my first magazine, The Wounded Tiger. My motivation stems from my fascination for publications and all things related to arts and writing.

When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?

Kalaage came when my publication, The Wounded Tiger, closed down. It was very difficult for me to source content for my publication while simultaneously promoting it. That is when I met Ravi and we thought about creating a platform which connects writers and publications. Kalaage was started in December 2015. With Kalaage, writers get published in various publications of their choice. Then magazines and newspapers get to source content from people around the world on the topic of their choice.

What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?

The biggest need we are fulfilling is for publications to source content, on the topic of their choice, from people around the world, and also making the entire operation automated. Also, writers get to not only write and share their articles, views, opinions, but they get to see it published, under their name, in reputed magazines and newspapers. By getting people published, we are providing a very strong value proposition and publications are getting to democratize their platform and source content with ease.

What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?

We actually get the writers published not just on the platform itself (similar to Medium, Facebook, LinkedIn ), but in various newspapers and magazines of their choice. This unique value proposition is what makes the difference and excites more users to join us.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?

KalaageThe biggest challenge was to get writers on board. It’s challenging to find good quality writers then convince them to share their work on our platform, rather than Facebook and personal blogs, where they had been sharing for ages. Another challenge is approaching publications and convincing them to give it a shot.

Targeting college-going students was something that got us good writers and rapidly increased our user base. Once we got one big publication on board, the others followed suit and we were able to make our platform workable.

Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?

We focus on documentation for keeping track of everything. All our work is on Googledocs, and we have been using it throughout to manage our activities.

Amazon’s AWS was the best thing for us to store our data and then also Microsoft Azure for data storage. These, I feel, are some of the basic and most essential tools that startups today should use to manage their day to day activities.

What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?

The startup ecosystem in India is very solid and supportive. We participated in a lot of events to make connections. With reference and guidance, we were able to approach investors for funding. It’s very important for a first time startup founder to have some experienced people as Mentors/Advisors in the team who could help and guide you when you are in a dilemma.

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The only thing different I would do if I had to start over again would be to focus on self-sustaining the platform and focus on revenue making from day one, rather than waiting for the external investment to float in. After all, a startup is a modern word for a company.

Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?

The only thing that we do not understand is how companies can raise multi-million rounds of investment without having a dollar in profit. This is something that no one seems to have the answer to.

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What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?

Self-sustaining the platform is one challenge. Since it is a networking platform, it has been difficult to monetize from day one. Also, now a day the investment scene in India has become very tight and difficult. You need a lot of preparation before you could approach an investor for a follow up round.

What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?

If money is coming in the company, take it, no matter from where it is coming. Experiment with multiple sources for revenue generation and save yourself from a doomsday.

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Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?

We are a group of four dedicated people working on Kalaage full time. So far, we have 12,000+ writers, 55 publications, and 5000+ articles uploaded on the platform. Kalaage has a good presence in India, and are now looking for our second investment to expand in APAC market and Canada and Australian markets as well.

Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.