The talent marketplace in India is currently very fragmented, with very few platforms that are available for talent discovery. Here is a startup that is aiming to consolidate and become the single platform for showcasing talent – ItsShowTime.co.in
Sharan Makhija has been a part of the family’s advertising business which predominantly helps banks and other institutions in all of their advertising needs – from collateral creation to branding material. The business is already spread across multiple cities with many offices. Sharan has also founded an infrastructure company that has innovated and created a soil stabilizer for making roads, which provides a 20 percent cost savings, is faster and is also eco-friendly. Over the past five years, multiple central and state government approvals have been obtained and it has been used for over 40 kilometers of roads in Karnataka and has another 300 kilometers worth of orders.
The idea for ItsShowTime came when Sharan was helping a banking client of the advertising business create a campaign to connect with the youth. He constantly heard the “I could have been…” refrain from the youth, and that is when he hit upon the idea for the marketplace, given the huge population in India and the potential for untapped talent to be shown to the world. The ultimate vision is to be the first filter for shows such as ‘India’s got talent’ and ‘Masterchef’.
What is ItsShowTime
It is a platform for getting discovered. It might not guarantee you stardom, but it does guarantee you a platform to demonstrate your hidden talent to the world. While that in itself can be an uplifting experience, if you are really good at it, you might even make a lot of money!
If you would like to showcase your talent, all you have to do is create your profile on the website and you can upload the relevant videos and photos and you are all set to be discovered. Users can also blog about their latest gigs or their latest concept, to share with their followers. On the other side, talent agencies, casting directors, venue owners will be using the platform to find talent that suits their needs and budgets for events. Right now, in more than three months since launch, the site has over 2000 registered users and has an average traffic of 20,000 – 25,000 visitors every month. Basketball Federation of India and the band ‘One Nite Stand’ have also shown their intent of being on the platform. Recently for a television show, there were 40 responses for audition including one from a known actress. The site claims to have a top basketball player and a leading model among its members.
The site has features such as ‘Top Viewed’ and ‘Top Rated’ so that the best talent may bubble up democratically, assuring a degree of curation for the talent sourcers.
Sharan is very well aware that building a two-sided market will require a lot of effort. He has dedicated people focusing on each side. On the talent side, the team visits colleges like Bangalore’s Mount Carmel college and multiple Tech Parks with youngsters to get spot registrations and seed the network. On the other demand side, the team is leveraging personal contacts and networks to reach out to talent sourcers across industries. The team is also running marketing campaigns on Radio Indigo to have a broader reach.
So how exactly is different from other platforms? Sharan says, “Platforms like the AR Rahman backed Qyuki are for providing guidance and taking the artistes to the next level. ItsShowTime is geared towards providing opportunity for the first break”. Qyuki is backed by CISCO. He also goes on to say that the YouTubes of the world have stars like Bon Jovi, but provides very little opportunity for upcoming stars.
There will definitely be advertisements of different venues or upcoming events. But the main source of recurring revenue is a small $5 subscription fee that the users will pay to ‘apply’ or reach out to a specific requirement. As free users, they can receive an unlimited number of incoming queries for performances. “The small fee is definitely not much of a hurdle. In fact, it is a tiny amount when compared to what they might get paid if chosen to play at a gig”, states Sharan.
So what’s next for this budding startup? Building a mobile app is definitely next on the cards. The plan is to also expand to other cities and reach out to more and more potential audience.