Jag Chima is a second-generation businessman of a different kind. He has built multiple businesses, from mobile retailing to real estate to celebrity fitness companies. The interesting thing about each of these companies is that he has timed them well and made a success out of them.
Jag has scaled them to meaningful heights within the confines of the market that he was working in. A chance discussion led him to launch and scale a celebrity fitness company that has literally trained all Bollywood A-Listers.
His latest venture is again timed well, focusing on the creator economy. Jag is bringing the same zeal to the world of creators and influencers as he did with his other ventures. This is an episode very different from what we have had in the past.
Automated Transcript – Errors may exist
brands, india, people, work, business, creators, mobile phones, numbers, uk, spend, space, helped, created, happened, developed, campaigns, started, deal, roi, usp
Nithin Kamath, Jag Chima, Krishna Jonnakadla, Sonal Verma
Nithin Kamath 00:00
I’m very honest, if I was a VC funded myself, like it was how bad the presentation was, you know, to build scale, you
Sonal Verma 00:07
have to think scale. Sometimes I think too much of money restricts innovation. I think that’s a sad part. So Destiny finds you on the road that you take to avoid it.
Krishna Jonnakadla 00:16
Whenever you get a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which we will see. We didn’t really ask ourselves like too many questions in terms of how big can we get it? It was very, very hard to explain what is UGC? He wanted something first 30 or 1 million to 10 million every year. But again, you know, we had basic teams, struggled, struggled, struggled, but every day was just learning, which was just amazing. Listen to founders about their stories, and how they build their startups. Here on Maharaja of scale with me your host, Krishna Jonnakadla, co founder of mango mobile TV and Bob. Hey, everyone, good afternoon. Cloudy March cloudy may in Bangalore here. At the moment, the weather in Bangalore is colder than some of the North Indian Hill stations. So everybody on Twitter saying their fake packing bags. But on the other side of the pond, as we say is today with me Jack Shiva, who is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and visionary. He’s founded a variety of ventures. And the reason I’m speaking to Jack today is what I call as the influencer world. Last year, USA Today, I think, if I’m not mistaken, ran a poll in the US media and then asking, what were the current career aspirations of Americans and American kids? And you wouldn’t believe me, even a kid that was as young as 13 years old indicated that being a YouTube influencer was their career ambition. So Jack is in the is at the forefront of it through iflix media. So let’s talk to Jack today. Jack, welcome to the show.
Jag Chima 02:03
Thank you very much, Krishna, it’s an absolute pleasure to be on your show.
Krishna Jonnakadla 02:07
Awesome. Tell us a little more about yourself and what you’re working on right now, Jay.
Jag Chima 02:14
So I’m an entrepreneur, I’m based here in London. Very different weather to what you guys are normally experiencing there in Bangalore. So working on multitude of different brands, and one of our fastest growing brands, verticals is iflix. Media, and listening to your introduction. Absolutely. I agree. You know, influencer marketing is at the forefront. Many years ago, you would never have thought that this could actually be a career option for many people. But you’re completely right. A lot of children are aspiring to be great content creators. And that is how they look at their future. So it’s an amazing journey so far for us.
Krishna Jonnakadla 02:55
Excellent. How? How? So I know you have you’re a man of many interests. So talk to us about your background. Where did you start initially with Where did you find success? Or you didn’t? What did that teach you?
Jag Chima 03:09
Sure, I mean, I’ve always been inspired to be an entrepreneur, by watching my father, who’s a self educated man, he was an immigrant who came to the UK and built an empire based on something that he was very passionate about. And I was fortunate enough to still have to spend a lot of time with my father, and watching him grow. When he had no Plan B, Plan A was on the only plan, which meant that you can only focus your efforts on Plan A has to work and there was no there was no, there’s no two ways about it. So that became something that I was really inspired by and ultimately became the foundation of what I use to create successful companies and brands around the world. My very first business, my own very first business, actually was mobile phones, mobile communications, my background, my family, businesses, construction, and real estate. And you would have thought that that would have been the first business that I would have entered. But actually, I wanted to, I wanted to see if the skills that I have learned can result in building successful businesses or business outside of what my family businesses. And so I decided to go with something that I was very interested in. And all those years ago, mobile phones were very new. It’s not like what it is today where you see even children having mobile phones. So I built a business and I then exited that business. So I learned on how to create a business from a very foundation level, create USPS within a business and create an interest where somebody would be willing to purchase something was already created, and develop it or merge it into something that they already have. So that was an excellent learning journey for me. And thereafter I entered the real estate business. I had created something which was quite unique. I had lots of layers, which other real estate businesses didn’t have. And I still have that business now. Where we service a lot of non resident Indians in the UK, which was one of our biggest markets and still is, we sell, we rent we acquire, we develop, we finance. So that’s one of the businesses that I’ve owned for over 22 years now. And still growing, still going strong. And then I decided to enter into businesses, which I have a passion for, which was fitness, and developed fitness in India, because my parents are from India, and I could see a huge gap in the market. We’ve worked with many celebrities and still do within India. We started off in India by providing coaching for celebrities that need to get ready for movies. Our very first client in India was redic, Russian. He’s now a very good friend and still is a client. And then we went on to train people like with the current Jehova Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and many other names that are household names across India, not just in Mumbai, but places like Hyderabad, and so forth. So that helped me to understand markets in a better way. Because what we realized in India was that Seeing is believing when people see something, they’re more likely to ask questions on how they can also ascertain attain and achieve those same types of successes that other people might have, whether it be business or even physics. So we had developed an education platform in India, which is still going very strong, and gyms across India, which is a franchise model now. And it’s, it’s going very, very well. So these are just some of the businesses that I’ve been involved with. But one of the areas of work, which has always been a great passion of mine is to help develop brands and businesses. And one of the ways in which I’ve been doing that, since 2011, is by helping creators, which are known as influencers. I like calling them creators, because they have creative minds, they work on areas that they have a passion for. And I’ve been helping creators connect with brands, so that brands can go grow using the strengths of the creators. And the creators generally only work with brands that they believe in, and they end up reaching more audiences. So we started a company just under three years ago, me and my co founder in India, focusing on creators outside of the fitness industry, as well, for me, that was a new area. Traditionally, I was only working with fitness creators. And we started an organization, a company called iflix media. And since we’ve started, we have now become India’s fastest growing influencer marketing agency, forcing a talent agency also we have a talent management arm. And it’s been a phenomenal journey. You know, we ended we’re looking at ending the year this year with a 14 revenue of 40 CRS. So for a company less than three years old, I think, you know, we’ve done pretty well in a space, which previously was not recognized as a career option for many people. As you as you mentioned in your introduction,
Krishna Jonnakadla 09:14
right. Yeah, I know, I remember. Several, I think about 50 episodes ago, I was chatting with a Indian investor, angel investor who started off as an angel investor and initially set up one of India’s most successful funds called the seed fund, and I was telling him the way you see media and advertising and marketing, it’s experienced a huge shift in sort of, while the spend is still by the large brands, the manner in which their spending is fundamentally changing, because today, instead of employing an actor and making an actor use let’s say a toothpaste and not knowing whether fruity Croatian uses the toothpaste or not, right, you’re using People that are perhaps someone like you who’ve gone a little distance, and are a little more relatable. So the spend is changing, the media industry is changing. And as a result of which, as a result of that, a lot of people are seeing that as a career aspiration. In fact, the influenza aspect is working in a variety of ways, which is one of the reasons I was very intrigued to, to talk to you to see how that’s actually evolving. What what trends you’re seeing, we’ll come to that come to that in a moment. But I’m interested in talking about the mobile phone venture that you spoke about, was it a retail venture, like, like, what Carphone Warehouse is in the UK or something different?
Jag Chima 10:48
Yeah, you’ve got it. So it was a retail venture, but with a wholesale element to it. Okay, so we brought a twist to the way that mobile phones were sold in the UK. And what we were doing was we were focusing on customization. And those days, you never used to have the ability to take pictures and watch videos on mobile phones with a very different space. But it customization was something that people loved. On a mobile, so we were Yes, absolutely. So customizing your mobile phone, in the sense that these days, you know, you get loan different cases and things like that’s a common thing. But in those days, it wasn’t 9097 98, it was not like that. We were the first in London to have different country flags, on mobile phone covers, which are actually not an external cover, it was actually your original casing that was dismantled and a new casing put on with handpainted casings, you could have a variety of different patterns and designs. We used to have very high quality accessories hands free, which is a very normal thing, I see you’re wearing a Bluetooth device I’m wearing, why don’t we show that’s really nice. Can I see your phone and then you can see where it came from. So we were finding ways of how to reach people. And we ended up reaching a lot of other retailers who decided to contact us. So we developed a b2b arm of the business too. And then, when we decided to take an exit, we decided to take an exit because we could see that very quickly, what we were doing was being replicated at a very fast scale. So my choice then was either we scale up very quickly. And that meant reducing margins, and very heavy investment, for lower ROI. All we do an exit where somebody else in the market who’s looking to scale at that pace, would use the platforms that we’ve already created. And for them, it would be a quicker, a quicker way to achieve their objectives. And for me, I think that was the right time. And I’m, I’ve I was very happy at exiting and never regretted that decision. Because when we exited just a few months later, most of what we were doing was available in supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s. So we exited at the right time.
Krishna Jonnakadla 13:22
Interesting. Yep. You know, the other day, a couple of days ago, I was out in in a South Bangalore stream. And I counted all of 33 stores 33 Mobile phone stores in a matter of not even, I think 400 meters all sort of selling the same stuff, same Samsung apple, and OnePlus, which is quite popular in India. And I realized that every one of them out on the high street, every one of them pays reasonable amount of rent. And the funny thing is, the price points are all the same. Maybe five or five and 500 rupees less or 500 rupees more, and maybe some relationships and then that. I contrast to that in other parts of the city and the country, from mobile phone accessories, to covers to cases to repair stores. And the mobile phone industry seems to be everywhere. And I have more of my own theory. If you listen to my podcast, you’ll hear that I have a lot of pet theories, but some of them are irrelevant. Some of them are some things that have come up. But in this case, I do feel that it’s sort of a racket, if you will, because all of these from Samsung to one plus all of them have sort of these big, gigantic companies and they need to keep the wheels in motion all the time. And personally, I’m not a fan of spending a lot on something that really doesn’t give you Any incremental value, so it’s okay to spend on you to use the device practically the whole day. So for something that you rely on so much, you definitely need something good. But the industry has you believe that you need the next flashiest thing in the next three months. And the funny thing is, the amount of money that you spend on it, unlike, let’s say, gold, which is an obsession, it retains some or some amount of that intrinsic value. But when it comes to mobile phones, none of them nothing loses more money, it’s more instantly than automobiles and electronics. Right? So when you look at that perspective, one is this, this whole set of people that are dependent on livelihood on the mobile phone business, from the retailers to repair men and the servicemen, and then the and then these large companies themselves. And then when we look at all the global conversations that are taking place, about climate change, and then poverty and stuff, you’ll see that when a when the world is spending close to half a trillion dollars just on mobile phones, especially when you don’t really need them, it gives you pause about what’s the business model. And so that’s the size of the industry. Now, I don’t know if you see it that way. But I’m wondering because you exited way before the smartphones actually happened. And your comment that you don’t have any regrets is it’s kind of, in a way surprising to me. So do you look at how big the mobile phone industry has become? And tell yourself though, we had a head start, we were one of the earliest ones, although there were a lot of capital copycats. In the model that you were pioneering, you could have possibly become bigger than a Carphone Warehouse, or any of them, if you had, you know what, continue to hold on to that.
Jag Chima 16:50
Yeah, I can see your perspective. And absolutely, you know, there’s, there’s definitely lots of different places that we could have developed that business into. And I still have a lot of friends who are in the mobile phone industry, that I’m still connected to who diversified. Some of them went into software development for mobile phones, others went into language development for mobile phones, and some actually develop their own devices, electrical devices, and some of them actually became manufacturers of accessories. However, I, I always only get involved with things that I generally genuinely have a passion for. And if I don’t genuinely have a passion for something, then it’s just an exercise that I’m doing for the sake of doing it. And I don’t feel that you can ever do something to the best of your ability if you’re just doing it for the motion. So, for me, I was very excited about that business all the way up until I made an exit. But had I stayed in that industry for any longer, I feel that I possibly would have started to enjoy it less and less. So I used my time in developing other businesses, which became huge and excited me more. And I think that opened many more doors. And some of the businesses that I’m involved with today would never have happened if I was still involved in mobile phones. So there’s two ways of looking at it. My global travels, for example, that would never have happened at the scale that they’ve happened if I was only involved in mobile phones. So absolutely, I could could have developed something bigger than Carphone Warehouse. Absolutely. Yes. Is that the industry that I knew that I felt that I wanted to always be involved with? I don’t think so. I think, you know, I was involved with it enough to excite me, a deeper level of involvement, I think probably would have probably would have lost that passion. earlier. So I think that’s the kind of level that i i Look, that’s the lens that I look at this from so yeah, I can see, I can see your perspective,
Krishna Jonnakadla 19:07
in a way was a launchpad for the things that you wanted to do eventually in your life?
Jag Chima 19:12
Absolutely. And the learnings from from that business helped me to develop the businesses that I iden straight after, for example, the real estate world. It helped me to understand, you know, some of the aspects of business that I probably would not have, I would not have even looked into you know, how to bring new USP how to bring innovation into an industry which is already doing pretty well. You know, a lot of people get involved with businesses because they see other people doing them pretty well. But it doesn’t mean that you will always be successful. If you replicate something that someone else is doing. You need to have a strength and you need to genuinely have a passion for what you do. If you’re good at something and you do it well. Aren’t you? There’s no reason why you can’t make it a business.
Krishna Jonnakadla 20:03
Right. Right. Right. So I presume the real estate business, which you still are in, you know, 22 years later, is sort of like the annuity. I possibly it’s not even an annuity. It’s a monthly jet, sort of some of the, maybe the main cashflow driver that helps you take bets and, you know, foray into other interesting places. While that’s sort of like the legacy, traditional business it, it runs on its own real estate has that if once you set it up, and if you live in a country like the UK, where you have contractual covenants, and you have all of the processes that are automated, yes, there are, it’s not a big unless there is, you know, the exchequer driven boom or bust cycle, it doesn’t really go through large cycles on a quarterly or a monthly basis, is that kind of like the source where you tap into and foray into other ventures? Would that be a good characterization?
Jag Chima 21:10
It’s definitely been my foundation, and has given me the ability to venture out into other territories and categories of business, for sure. But there’s still different elements and layers. So we have the retail element, which I call retail, which is servicing clients who are looking to either sell real estate or purchase real estate. And we’ve created SOPs, where our teams are there, they follow up processes, which we’ve created over many years and refined, they use our platforms, and they service those claims, we have investors that are looking to invest in property, but they may be doing a job, or they may be running another company, which is nothing to do with real estate. So they look for professional advice on how to do that. And then they also look for people who can manage that asset for them. And that’s what we do, then, of course, in both of these areas, you need finance. And we organize finance, we raise finance for people to make those purchases, we revisit people who have already had funding to make sure that they’re still in the best possible deals, we make sure that you know, anybody who has an investment, that property is compliant with the local borough, in terms of any regulations that they need to fulfill for sale, safety, overcrowding, there’s so many aspects of that business. So that requires expert teams. And those teams are what we have developed over the years, refined them, and created protocols for them to follow. And that’s our USP. But over and above that the other aspect of the real estate that I’m involved with our own investments where we do acquisitions, we do development planning is involved. And then of course, you know, getting blue chips in as clients who we lease out properties to. So real estate, as a as an overall for me is definitely a foundation. And it’s an ongoing process. So the USP that helped us to elevate our real estate business for the retail aspect, when I first started was my ability to speak Punjabi and Hindi, which was the USP. And we were dealing with lots of NRIs, whose English was not fluent, didn’t really understand the terminology. Or the processes. You know, traditionally, in the UK, when people who didn’t really speak English, were making a property purchase. They were interested in just one or two things. How much do I give you? Where do I sign? And when do I get the keys. So anything else that was explained to them, they would just sign on the dotted line. And believe it or not, that’s where I found the gap in the market. So many people signed on finance deals, life insurance deals, they were paying so much money every single month for things that they didn’t need, or were mis sold to them. So I decided to enter the real estate industry from that angle. So I had my own TV show. And I went on this TV show speaking Hindi speaking in Punjabi and giving examples of people that had these problems. And straight away we were inundated. Our offices were like a doctor surgery. There was lines and lines of people that would bring their paperwork in and say could you please check this and we would literally translate what was going on. And then we had to recruit at a very fast scale, people who can speak local language. And we generated and created SOPs for this and up until this day, we are remembered for that.
Krishna Jonnakadla 24:56
Very interesting. So now that You had all of this in the UK? Was it? Like you mentioned in the beginning? Was it more of your, your parents origin country and the roots that brought you to India? Was it just part, it was the larger India story, or was there a cultural affinity as well.
Jag Chima 25:20
My parents, the credit goes to my parents 100%. And the reason is because my, my dad used to send me to India, even when he couldn’t travel with me, and my mom couldn’t travel with me, they used to send me to visit my uncles and aunties in my holidays from school. And they did that because they wanted me to stay connected to my roots. Because my dad had seen some of his friends whose children had no interest in going to India. And he didn’t want me to be one of those people. And I’m really, really happy that that happened. Because because of that reason, we now have, I’ve visited parts of India that I never thought I would ever visit. I’ve got friends in all parts of India, who are amazing. And we have amazing companies in India, where we are making change, like, for example, I Plex Media, we have helped companies who were startups. Now, some of the companies that we work with are unicorns, you know, our growth for iflix media, for example, you’re talking about India, and how amazing India is, you know, last year, we closed at eight crores, you know, we’ve got a 500% growth rate. And, you know, we we are on track to closing for TCRs revenue at the end of 2022. So, you know, going back to your original question about India, thanks to my parents that I had, they helped me to create that interest in going back. And eventually, they didn’t have to ask me whether I wanted to go to India, I was going to India more than my parents visits. And I still do.
Krishna Jonnakadla 27:07
Awesome. It’s very rare to see that. One is you do a lot of Indian parents, as a person who’s lived more than a decade outside of India, I can understand that, that you want your children to with it, you know, be in touch with the place that they are from, and I think for good measure now, because between the 770s and 2000s, I’m assuming your parents went to the UK sometime in the 70s or the early 80s. And there was other than the other than a few romantic notions about India, that it was the place where they came from India itself was hadn’t changed that much. But mid 2000s. And then early 2010s is when rapid changes aren’t happening. But still, it’s it’s still a work in progress, as I as I call it, and lot needs to change. And a lot of it is a result of the colonial legacy as well. Right? So we still battling the same things. But otherwise, the dynamism, energy is really, really palpable. I think that’s possibly what drew you in. So let’s talk about the truth. Before we talk about iflix. I’m intrigued about the training, you know, the actors and the actresses, celebrities, if you will, how did that happen? It, it feels like it’s one thing to be a fitness enthusiast for your own sake, but a totally different thing to channel that into a profession and let alone help celebrities, you know, take care of their health. How did that happen?
Jag Chima 28:51
So to summarize a very long story. I was in India with now my business partner, Kris Gethin, and we were holding educational seminars to train people on the right way of coaching clients on how to become fitter and healthier how to transform. And I was introduced to redic versions manager and Riddick. And I have given them Chris’s book. And a short while later, we had a call from an ex manager to say that, you know, he is interested in having Chris coach him. And eventually, that happened. Chris flew over to India, again, from the UK. He used to live in the live in the UK at the time in Wales. He lives in the states now. And he trained him for a movie called Chris three. And if I mean you just have to google Kris Gethin regression, Chris three and you’ll see lots and lots of pictures of that transformation and We made history, it was an I would say possibly still is the best transformation in the history of Bollywood that any actor has done for any movie. It was supposed to be 12 weeks. And we achieved that in nine weeks. Yeah, so that triggered lots of interest. Many people saw the movie and said, How did that happen? And that’s when our journey in India started with the other businesses.
Krishna Jonnakadla 30:30
So in a way, if I were to take Christian Bale as an actor, if he has to look like this really drained out, sleepless maniac in Ex Machina, and he flips around completely and looks like this man with a potbelly and completely overgrown Dick Cheney, in the movie, the wise. So would it be a fair characterization to say that? Isn’t the kind of transformation you help? Or is it like a fitter person, a person who can look like a superhero and a personify superhero? That’s the transformation you enable?
Jag Chima 31:06
Definitely somebody who looks like a superhero, but also feels like a superhero. Okay. What we do is holistic, it’s not just aesthetic, it’s holistic, 100%. Anybody that we’ve ever worked with, around the world, they always appreciate how they felt. Because if you feel good, you will definitely look good. If you don’t feel good, you probably won’t look good. That’s a fact.
Krishna Jonnakadla 31:35
Sure, sure. So let’s now come to the Creator angle. You said your tryst with creators began way back in 2011. And then we are now in 2020 22. Feeds like COVID, literally just inserted two years into our timeline, and then we just woke up sort of fits like? Why, again, why the Indian space? Because if you look at what’s happening in China, between bytedance and all the other platforms, and what’s happening in the West, there’s boatloads of money to be made there. India is definitely a hot destination right now. A lot of nano influencers, I used to hear the term micro influencers. Now I’ve started hearing the term nano influencers, people with four or five 6000 followers, or maybe 10,000 followers starting to have a voice as well. So it’s definitely perhaps the next growth engine here. But what is it about creators that sort of draws you in? And what’s what’s about the Indian space? What’s the hypothesis that sort of made you think that this is the space to be this as the demographic?
Jag Chima 32:51
So it’s a very good question. I mean, firstly, the influencer. marketing space is ever evolving. And it’s an evolved so much. So since 2011, you said something very interesting earlier on, which was, when creators, let’s say advertising or toothpaste, you know, whether they’re using it or not, you know, in the past, that was the case. And it was very, very, it was very real. People may be seen with a product picture. And that was influencer marketing, I’ve been involved. Since those days, we only see a picture of a product with a person. You know, it’s quite kind of cringy when you see that now, because that’s way outdated. And nine out of 10 times those people that will use those products, or even believed in those products. Right now, the creator, industry adequately, economy has changed. People who create content, they work very hard to attain the loyalty of their followers. So if they are seem to be putting out content just for the sake of being paid, they will very quickly lose the loyalty of those creators. And that’s why it’s very important for iflix media to be present and help creators to understand and connect them with the right type of brands that fit within their beliefs and thoughts and high quality as well. And what then ends up happening is that even the brand benefits from being connected with the right creator. And the Creator also benefits because when they influence their followers on making a purchase, or using a service that they might be talking about on their platforms. They really do believe that the Creator has spoken from their heart and they believed in and they’ve made a good investment. So we have strategies. We have the ecosystem behind the scenes on helping creators make those choices and understand how to grow and that has helped us to grow creators from mere, you know, a mere few 1000 into multiple millions of followers and also revenues. You know, revenues can be simply a starting point just about a deal to anything to 2530 lakhs per video on YouTube, you know. So these are the numbers. And this also connects to the reason why what you said at the very beginning, why some youngsters younger children are thinking about having, you know, being the content creator as a career, because the numbers are clearly evident that this can be a career and it is for many people.
Krishna Jonnakadla 35:31
Right? The only difference though is it’s fleeting, some of it is fleeting and ephemeral. Not everybody becomes Joe Rogan with a, you know, globally renowned podcast. But the whole point is, as long as you can carve out a niche for yourself and keep reinventing I mean, actors go through this, their whole life, you have gone are the days where you were just stereotyped as one sort of person. And today you have to transform yourself and metamorphose into something newer? So talk about the iflix journey, then. What were How did you go about launching in the first, let’s say the first few days or the first few months? How did you land the first few brands and the creators? And how did you carve out a niche for yourself?
Jag Chima 36:24
So we already myself and my co founder, Neil, we already had a lot of experience in this field. And we are highly respected by creators because of the track record that we both hold. And equally with brands that we’ve worked with, they believe in our vision. So for us to bring brands on board when iflix was born wasn’t a big challenge, because there was a belief in what we already do present. And so what we did was we used my expertise. Different to Neil’s expertise, Neil holds a lot of technical expertise on how to grow on certain platforms. My expertise in terms of building brands is a little different from Neil’s experiences. So when we brought these two together, when we were presenting to some household name brands, they absolutely loved it. So for us, we were given some pilot projects, some pilot campaigns, and those pilots proved to be highly successful. So just to go back a step, you know, financial year 2022, we’ll be closing at around 40 crores for iflix. The end of this year, we’ll see 100 crores if we stay on track. So that gives you an A little bit of an inkling on numbers and the types of brands that we might be working with. So the types of brands that we now work with our brands, such as mama Earth, which is a huge brand in India, we work with Audi, Audi, India, we recently worked with them to launch the Audi e Tron. And the Audi Q seven. We work with brands like Skillshare, which are global names, you know, for educational platforms, Samsung, and many other brands that are in that kind of space and those sizable platforms. So when we work with brands, brands value, the engines that we have created, because it comes down to return on investment, it comes down to understanding how the mechanisms will work. And what we do with brands is we take away a lot of that pain that they have to go through to achieve their objectives. Influencer Marketing is, is forever evolving. And to do it as successfully as we do it, any brand would have to recruit a huge team in house just to understand what those changes look like. So before an investment is made with any creator, just the r&d aspect of it is a huge challenge for many brands. So when people look at Brands, look at companies like hyperlinks, they can see that they don’t have to actually form a whole department. Just to understand how this element would work. We would actually take care of the end to end execution, including strategy, including the actual mechanics of even filming content, you know how that’s supposed to be done. So, yeah, I mean, getting those brands on board for us initially, based on the track record, wasn’t too difficult. And today we use the same methodology as we did on day one, and continue to do so. But I think the most important thing is is that you know, we provide the best experience, you know, experience I think is the key word here. If the experience is good, then there’s no reason why there’s no reason for any brand to go anywhere else. Because ultimately, that’s the biggest pain point when somebody is looking at doing a huge rollout of a new product or service, you know, they’ve already got their other challenges that they might be dealing with with that product or service, this is not one that they need, you know. So that’s where we come in.
Krishna Jonnakadla 40:28
Amazing, talk about some numbers that you hit, and some high points, and some low points as well, in this, how many influencers, how many brands and maybe how many hundreds of crores worth of sales created, and how many unique people have you touched, I don’t know, if you monitor or measure those numbers in some form or fashion, you don’t need to be too exact, but good ballpark numbers would help.
Jag Chima 40:54
So I’ll share some numbers with you. That might you might find interesting. We have worked with YouTube channels that literally had just a few 1000 subscribers. And today, some of these YouTube channels are upwards of eight to 9 million YouTube subscribers. This is just the number of subscribers. So you can just imagine, imagine the number of views that some of those videos might be getting? Sure. And another, an interesting fact that I can share with you is that a lot of creators that we work with, we’re working at possibly only 10% of what they’re earning right now after starting working with us, because they didn’t really understand how to actually put a real value on the type of content that they were creating. And also, many brands didn’t know how to measure ROI, how do they choose the right creator to work with, in order for them to understand what kind of return on every dollar that they spend, you know, do you get $1 for $1 that you spend, what is a good mechanism that $2 or $1 that you spend that you get as an ROI, you know, my average is that you should be looking at three to one, you know, as, as, as an average, you know, we do campaigns where you get five, six to one, depending on the type of product or service. And so what ends up happening is brands who initially may have only wanted to, let’s say, have a five lakh per month spend on a campaign, after doing pilots with us where you know, our entry points sometimes is, you know, 2025 lakhs as a pilot. But when brands come in, do a pilot with us, those numbers from let’s say, five to 10 lakhs a month go all the way up to like 50 lakhs a month, abroad a month. You know, that’s not an unusual number for us in terms of spend, because clearly, depending on the product or service, they know that this is the level that they wish to be at. And I think you know, we’ve had some interesting problems that brands have faced, and that is where they’ve spent on campaigns and realize that they have to reduce the spend, because they can’t service the number of the number of clients that they’ve attained from these campaigns. So it’s a very interesting mix of numbers that we deal with on a day to day basis. So when we work with brands, we also have questions that we ask them on, you know, you know, the size of the organization, how many people would they like to reach? You know, what kind of, you know, let’s say if a brand is doing production, you know, what level can they produce? You know, how wide can they reach? Is it just national or international. So there’s, there’s a variety of different numbers and facts that we deal with, we have in terms of numbers, you know, we deal with more than 40 exclusive talents in India, which is a very, it might sound like a very small number. But as a matter of fact, it’s quite a significant number of exclusives that we deal with. And each of these talents have, you know, a very vast number of inquiries that we deal with and we generate for them. They have huge amounts of business that we deal with them for them. So this is a very interesting number. We have a lot of non exclusive talents that we deal with over I would say over 1000 non exclusive talents that we deal with on a regular basis. So yeah, these are just some of the stats and numbers.
Krishna Jonnakadla 44:45
What has been the low point in all of this?
Jag Chima 44:50
I would say I’ll be very honest. There hasn’t been many low points that I can really say that stick out for me. In any business, of course, there are always going to be ups. And there’s always going to be downs. But I Plex Media, for me has been a very exciting and enjoyable journey from the day it was born. You know, I think the only low point for me that I would really say that really bothered me was when, during the pandemic, when we had lock downs, we grew our business exponentially. But the low point for me was that I had to learn how to remotely connect with our teams. And that was a low point because I’m, I’m slightly old fashioned, I love to meet with our teams face to face, I’d love to share that energy in the same room. So that was the kind of the only slightly low point where we used to have zoom calls with our entire team. And I was in the UK, and there was in India, and Neil was also in India. So that was a slight low point. But it was only because I couldn’t be face to face. But other than that, you know, it’s been an extremely enjoyable journey so far.
Krishna Jonnakadla 46:07
I want to get into the ROI thing a bit. What you said intrigued me how, when it comes to other media spend, when it comes to online media spend, we are in a position to identify clicks, and then you know, put all these affiliate links and track it the mechanism that you use for your influencers as well, is it largely something similar, because it’s always historically been assumed, especially like the brands that you spoke about, while the launch strategy is very important, or he needs to get it. But a lot of them are really branding there is there are two parts to media spend. One is branding, where you need to show that you’re there, whether it’s in drive sales or not, then the other part is actually driving revenue. So when it comes to ROI measurement, how exactly do you enable that? Don’t go into too much detail, but maybe touch upon the high points of how have you help them tracks track that?
Jag Chima 48:25
So just coming, answering your question in terms of how we use mechanisms. So every, every brand, and every organization that we deal with is very different. So what you’ll always find is that you sometimes you see codes, which are used when a campaign is done. Now, codes is a very good way of measuring returns on any investment. And that could be by way of offering a discount, having an offer, or using links to access that product or service. But it’s very important to use these mechanisms to understand how successful any campaign has ever been. And we always help the brands to plan that if they don’t already know. Because we do not always expect a brand to understand how they can put these engines in place. But at the same note, it’s it’s very different for different brands. For example, if we were talking about a motor vehicle brand, you wouldn’t be using the code to purchase a motor vehicle, especially if it’s a high ticket. So those are very unique. And those types of campaigns are mainly done for awareness and we can usually tell how successful they are by the amount of traffic that’s driven and the amount of vehicles that were sold, because the the actual salespeople usually can track that. But when it comes to e commerce brand It’s usually links that we create and holds. And they work extremely well.
Krishna Jonnakadla 50:05
Nicely. Who’s the which is the brand value deliver the maximum impact? And why exactly? Were you able to do that?
Jag Chima 50:17
I wouldn’t say there’s one brand that we’ve delivered maximum impact to, we are continuously doing it. And we’re really proud of that. But I would say that you know, some of the brands that we’ve worked with from since the since I’ve, like started our brands like mama Earth, and we’re proud to see mama Earth be a unicorn organize a company today and expand into other territories like the Middle East, and we’re proud to be an organization that actually worked with them for the Middle East in campaigns to and now I Plex is also present with an office in Dubai as a direct result. So we’ve worked with multiple brands that we create significant impact month on month skill session, another example of the same
Krishna Jonnakadla 51:05
way do you see let’s say five years from now, apart from the fact that perhaps you will be 1000 crores maybe in spend, quantitatively how to use you yourself see, changing the influencer marketing space are the creators.
Jag Chima 51:22
So, we are bringing innovation into influencer marketing, we’re currently developing new verticals within our brand new offices which are being created right as we speak, we should have positioned in just a few days, we’ll be changing a lot of ways in which content is created. But over and above will be creating a lot more opportunities for upcoming creators in the space on how to become a good quality creator by way of education. I Plex Media will also be in many other countries for which plans are currently underway, especially in Southeast Asia, in Europe, UK and the states. Due Diligence has been underway for quite a number of months now. And we’re proud to say that, you know, very soon you’ll see some of those new territories surface.
Krishna Jonnakadla 52:15
Awesome. Jagga it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I think if we had a little more time, I would have covered your cycling journey. Because I’m a bicycle. I’m a cyclist. I cycle on a regular basis. I do 100 150 Kilometer runs every Sunday, and do a 30 Kilometer routine every day. So cycling is sort of part of my daily routine. Now. I would have loved to chat a little more, but maybe we can pick it up. As we tell every entrepreneur when you scale a new peak when you reach a new Summit, we will come back and talk to you and what the Vantage Point looks like. And I guess in one of those sessions, we’ll pick up the discussion around some of your you know, fitness pursuits. We wish you the very best and I’m quite certain that given how India is growing you will make a lot of impact to the Creator space.
Jag Chima 53:08
Krishna, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you and I’m really excited to reconnect with you again sometime in the near future. Thank you so much.
Krishna Jonnakadla 53:18
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