Saurabh Gupta is the founder and CEO of Phonethics Mobile Media. Phonethics is a network marketing and character creation company which helps brands communicate their message through short video clips published online as well as on mobiles. At Phonethics they create engaging short form content with the brand’s story / message weaved in, add features that encourage ‘nudge networking’ that allows rapid discovery and viralling of the content. He is the winner of the British Council Young Communications Entrepreneur Award 2009.To read more about the Young Creative Entrepreneur Award click here. To follow British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Award on Facebook click here
Tell us more about your background and foray into the creative industry.
I did my schooling in Dehradun. I did economic honors at DU. I set up my first company in my second year at college. I sold this company this in my third year and started a chain of pool rooms. After this I started my first creative venture and we did creative design and consulting for advertising and editorial companies. This led to a film assignment, we were doing TV commercials, public sector ads, animations under the brand Ethics.
How did this evolve into Phonethics ?
In 2005 I wrote and directed Ctrl + Alt + Del, a short film with eminent actors Rahul Bose and Shernaz Patel in lead roles. The film was selected at various international film festivals. Because I was attending film festivals and trying to spread the word about the short film, I started exploring ways to distribute it on mobile phones and over the internet. Around that time the Value Added Services industry was taking shape in India. This lead to creation of phonethics which specialized in short form content for mobile phones.Can you share with us some of the work Phonethics has done?
Phonethics started producing character centric Short form content for all screen sizes in 2006 and was one of the first to do so in India . These characters were derived from varied aspects of Indian culture and represented different content verticals. Characters like Mian Fekoo with his counterpart Furmaoo Jaan brought poetry and fun while Indiyeah Singh was a Sikh with a sense of humor and penchant for trivia related to discoveries and inventions by Indians. Blogs like Bai Malai and characters like Madhuri, a dancing eunuch, were supported with viral videos which became a big hit across video sharing websites like Metacafe , Revver and Youtube .
As of now, Phonethics Mobile Media has more than 20 character properties with over 100 minutes of content. Apart from having their own content across internet and mobile these characters are also increasingly being licensed by brands looking to tap into their fan base or friends network.
Phonethics is also involved in social media optimization via an elaborate set-up involving Community Managers, search engine optimisation, and both fictional and non-fictional Characters to promote a desirable opinion for a brand among web users. Often it involves building and promoting a Branded Destination Virally in these and other social networks. One of the key reasons for Phonethics to survive and thrive was the fab team and a set of entrepreneurs that work together.Phonethics has expanded its vision to address all aspects of value chain within the digital and mobile space.Now our business is broadly divided into three streams: interactive solutions, producing IP content, and consultancy division.
How was your experience with YCE ?
It was a brilliant experience. Not only did I get an opportunity as a young entrepreneur to learn about creative businesses in the UK, I also got to interact with entrepreneurs from other countries and this led to collaboration and opportunities for my venture. This was a great platform for networking and forming connections with other creative entrepreneurs and corporates.
We are working with the YCE from Slovenia, FM Virtual and also with a few others in UK (www.fat-man-collective.com)
the YCE program is like a validation of the entrepreneur and the Business plan