For all you people out there, who can charm their way through, with a good sense of humour and a way better definition to ‘wit’, here’s a chance for you to get your words viral! Witcraft Marketing Private Limited, a startup by Apoorv Jain: Co-founder & CEO and Harsh Snehanshu: Co-founder & Creative Director, graduates from IIT Delhi, was launched in November 2010. They went on to launch their own web portal and named it thewittyshit.com. Being next door neighbours in college was destiny’s way of bringing about the launch of this venture that currently caters to 30,000 active users. With the key ingredient being ‘your wit’, thewittyshit.com gives you the perfect blend of a networking platform, branding contests, corporate clients, and an opportunity to get your one-liners merchandized and pitched across to ad-agencies to fetch you a humble share of your smartness in cash or kind.In an exclusive interview with YourStory.in, TheWittyShit (TWS) founders tell you how it all happened for them and how you could also make it happen!
Hello guys... Tell us a little about yourself.
Apoorv Jain: I was pursuing B-tech in Civil Engineering at IIT Delhi. Harsh and I were next-door neighbours at college. We graduated in May 2011. I am currently working as the Co-founder and Director at thewittyshit.com, the HR head at NSS-IIT, Delhi Chapter, an initiative to reduce illiteracy. In the past, I have worked as the General Secretary at NSS-IIT, Delhi Chapter and have been the Marketing Coordinator of several organisations.
Harsh Snehanshu: I was also pursuing B.Tech in the same college but in Engineering Physics. Like Apoorv said, we were next-door neighbours and that is how two people with similar interests came together. I was a researcher at the University of Glasgow and am presently the Co-founder and Director at thewittyshit.com. Apart from this, I am an author as Srishti Publishers and have authored two national bestselling books, namely Oops! I Fell in Love and Ouch! That Hearts.
(From hereon, the conversation is presented without attribution to Apoorv and Harsh. Both their inputs are consolidated.)
Nice! So an author and researcher and a marketing expert... How did you ever come to TWS? We started ideating in May 2010 and incorporated in November 2010. Both of us were in our final year at that point of time. We skipped our placements in order to take up this venture full-time and needless to say, it has been very rewarding so far.
As founders, both of us have a writing background. With a dearth of avenues that incentivise the creativity behind one-liners, slogans, status messages and tweets, we started this portal with a goal of promoting and monetarily acknowledging the creativity of the common man.
So for those still trying to figure it out, tell us what is TWS and what was the idea that led you to set it up?
It's a creative networking platform where people can submit their original one-liners, network with others equally witty and watch their one-liners go viral. The icing on the cake is, you get monetary benefits for the same! What could be simpler than writing just one line and being paid for it?
TWS facilitates this by conducting literary branding contests for corporate clients, merchandising the submitted one-liners into products like tees and selling these punch-lines to ad-agencies.
Humour is taking the lead above every other form of entertainment in India. Activity on social networks can't be imagined without an access to humour. And therefore, our dedicated platform which caters to humour and wit by the common man solves the higher purpose of not only entertaining the masses but also promoting them to become witty, because it has got incentives on TWS.
So what is the ultimate dream that you wish to achieve via your portal?
But can wit and one liners feed a business? How many people do you attract?
As you know that the founders have a writing background. The basic idea was that there was no avenue that could incentivise little creativity of coming up with a one-liner, slogan, status message or tweets into anything more than a few likes on your status message. And therefore we started with this portal with the single goal of promoting and incentivising basic creativity of the common man. We think the idea has shaped pretty well. Our engaged community, corporate clients willing to try our brand and a database of over 10,000 one-liners bear testimony to that. Our reach is around 30,000 customers.
And where do you run your operations from?
Before graduating from IIT Delhi, we used to operate from our dorm rooms itself. Currently, we have rented a 2BHK flat in South Delhi. We have converted one room into an office from where we operate.
As founders, we are the only two full-time members right now. We have over 60 students associated with us (part-time) and around 5 full-time interns working with us presently.
And how does this work from a business point of view?
Initially, we concentrated on building an engaged community. Now that we have around 30,000 active users, our business model has shifted to conducting creative contests to cater to the needs of corporate houses, while outsourcing our pool of creativity. Besides that, we also conduct competitions at our end on current issues and work on sponsorships for the same.
Tell us about some existing interesting features of your portal. Any additional features you want your viewers to look forward to?
We have a daily feature of the ’Wit of the Day’. There is an achievers section which awards some of the wittiest users. We are working on introducing games on the website which would induce greater involvement. We are soon launching ‘FunZone’ where users are expected to come up with witty replies to specific questions asked by us. Also, Wit-trophies are going to be introduced to award active users.
What do you think sets you apart from other ventures like yours?
Our USP is ‘originality’ and we exercise a regular check on that. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited.
You host a lot of events on your pages? Let us hear more about that.
We are very active on our Facebook fan page. It's the place from where we have kept our users engaged. We post a lot of interesting questions based on current affairs and induce healthy discussions around them.
Tell us a bit about the market size that you are trying to capture via your website?
We are trying to capture the janta active on Twitter and Facebook. We not only read about the contributors of creative content but also about the end consumers of this content. So the market that we are trying to target, pretty easily covers over 500 million people.
How has the response to your portal been so far?
Response has been decent, but not so spectacular. We are getting an average of around 5000 views/day but it keeps varying between 3000 and 10,000 views. We are launching a new design in a month and opening up the website for media consumption, following which we are expecting more views.
Cool! So let’s have some figures ... what is your annual turnover like?
Currently, our turnover is around Rs. 13 lacs. After investment, we project a turnover of Rs. 1 crore within a year.
Do you have plans to spread to other realms too? How do you plan to scale up TWS in the coming years?
We do plan to expand on verticals like photography and art but we wish to take it up one by one. Our main goal is to build a community where wit and humour is acknowledged and we intend to expand this community network first. Right now, we are pitching to investors. With the funding, we will be able to hire full time employees and our first target would be customer acquisition. We have a few marketing strategies in mind that could help me in reaching to a million users within six months of investment. Interested investors are welcome to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We see that you have a Wikipedia page to your name now! Congrats! Where else have you been featured?
Thank you. We were acknowledged with the iAccelerator award at IIM-Ahmedabad and People's Choice Awards 2010 by YourStory. The prominent magazine Businessworld enlisted us as one of the Hottest Young Entrepreneurs of 2010.
We featured in major dailies like Mid-Day, Mail Today and Hindustan Times. Recently, we made it big on Yahoo. Earlier, we were just a network for people to post one-liners. Now we are into corporate branding and have conducted contests for over 15 clients.
And before we close this, your signing off line would be...
Believe in your dreams, dare to trudge on different paths. And making some wit happen.. If we had to put that as a one liner, then "Regular jobs are not going to make you Steve Jobs!"
YourStory.in congratulates these two young chaps and their team on having achieved success already. We wish that their successes continue to multiply. You can sharpen your wit with them at www.thewittyshit.com
Credits: Ankita Rajan and Rohit Rohan
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