Atishay Agarwal and Venkatesh Sharma, football fanatics themselves, therefore, felt it was high time that this void was filled and thus happened - 90 Minutes!
The startup journey
Atishay, a mechanical engineer, got into football journalism and was so fascinated by it that he chose to pursue it as a career after engineering and along with Venkatesh, also a mechanical engineer and an avid football enthusiast, to fulfil his dreams, launched India’s first high quality, dedicated football monthly.
“It took us almost a year to go through the various registrations and governmental procedures, and we launched in July, 2011, with AIFF Vice President Subrata Dutta in attendance,” recalls Atishay.
Both these young guns worked night and day for their respective organizations but realized that their true happiness lays in building something on their own. “Also, because of our passion for football, we realized we’d be much happier, and as a result more successful if we did something that we loved, as well as something that needed to be done.” adds Atishay.
Their journey has been extremely tiring, but rewarding as well. “The response overall has been fantastic. We’re getting new subscribers almost every day, which is a huge positive,” says Atishay. “Our registered office is in Kolkata, and that is where we publish from. We, however, distribute in 6 big cities as well as the Northeastern states, where the magazine is extremely popular.”
What they are all about
While there are quite a few e-magazines out there, the USP of 90 minutes is that it is the only print magazine on football in India. “Football fans in India have been frustrated over the years by various sports magazines allocating only a few pages on football every week/month, and we’re here to satisfy their needs. Also, being an Indian magazine, we are better placed to understand exactly what kind of articles and what kind of angles work with the Indian audience. So while we do have some ‘masala’ we balance it with quality football articles,” adds Venkatesh.
The core members are based out of Mumbai and Delhi while the columnists are spread around India and abroad. “We’re very democratic in the way we work as well; with readers contributing articles every now and then (one or two of them are now columnists). If you have a look at our social media pages, you’ll come to realize how readers also treat the magazine as their own. The football community is closely knit in India, and this magazine belongs to the whole community,” informs Atishay.
Their claims to fame
One of their major milestones has been them successfully getting exclusive interviews of international football stars!
In the last few months, they’ve tied up with the then EPL club Blackburn Rovers to produce an exclusive booklet for them that comes packed with 90 Minutes for free. Last month they also nailed down a content-sharing arrangement with Arsenal, thanks to which they included some content from the official Arsenal magazine in their May issue.
All set for the future!
Atishay and Venkatesh have built their careers on their passion for the game of football. And much like the game, their dreams have become beautiful as well. Going by the quality of their content and the enthusiasm they have for their magazine, we are sure they will go places in the years to come. Watch out for them!