The only time that most of us actually watch a movie is either when it’s showing on TV or at the cinemas when it’s launched. There’s only so much you can keep up with. What about those countless other movies that you would like to have seen, but have missed? The same problem for books was solved by Goodreads. Grishma Udani, a young entrepreneur, was a great lover of Goodreads. She was also a great lover of movies and always wished there was a service similar to Goodreads for movies, which would tell her what her next favorite movie is going to be. And like any good entrepreneur, she built it. Rinema, a movie recommendation engine, opened itself to the public today.
I spoke with Grishma to understand her entrepreneurial roots, what it took for her to build Rinema and where she wishes to take it. Read on, this is an interesting story –
A passion towards movies
Grishma used to initially run Whirlybird Electronics, which was a technology services company catering to the defense industry. This business was started up while she was at college. But her heart was really in cinema. She says, “Honestly, hardware and defense gets boring after a while and I was thinking of getting myself a job, and cool my heels for a bit. I knew I wanted to work on something related to movies, so I approached companies that were doing things related to movies.”
But unfortunately, once you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always going to be an entrepreneur – “I used to share my ideas with the people who were interviewing me and all I got was blank looks, which just convinced me more to start my own thing. Now this came at a time when I was least prepared to start up from every aspect. But this was an idea I really wanted to give life to, so here I am, living the hectic life of an entrepreneur again.”
True to Grishma’s vision, Rinema aims to be able to recommend movies for you. Once you’re done signing in, you’re given a Pinterest like layout, where you can either rate a movie you’ve watched, or add it to your watch list. Once you’re done with this, Rinema pulls up people who have a similar taste of movies, whom you can follow. Post this, you’re given an activity feed of your friends on Rinema and the people you’ve followed. This is again laid out like Pinterest, on which you can either rate or add to your watch list.
There is a review section, which you can add movie reviews to. There’s also some interesting movie related content in the ‘lists’ section, which I found quite interesting, as I could find more movies in the list of ones that I enjoyed watching. How it will go from here is anyone’s guess, but as a product, there isn’t much wrong with Rinema.
The motivation of running a consumer business
In contrast to running an enterprise facing company, Grishma’s experience in running a B2C company is very different. She says, “It’s fun, actually. You keep getting feedback from people all around the world about your product, and it keeps propelling you forward. For instance, we had just shared access to Rinema to our inner circle of friends, who shared it to their circles as well. This led to a foreigner on the site adding some 180 movies at a stretch, when even I had added about 20 odd movies! Also, there was this lady called Maria, who had a list of all the movies she’s ever been to in an excel sheet and she had written to us saying that she was waiting for a platform like Rinema and she’d put up all those movies on the site as well.” Rinema has since also added a feature which imports information from excel sheets.
Rinema currently has a list of 120,000 movies on the site, which is growing everyday. As with most consumer internet startups, the focus for Rinema is going to be to be to acquire users. But given the success rates of consumer internet companies in India, I asked Grishma, what she would do if Rinema was to fail. After all, she was running on her savings and there would be a point where she’d expect Rinema to start generating revenue. She said, “I don’t allow myself to think like that. Back in college, when we were running Whirlybird, people said that it was going to be really difficult for us to sell to the government, but in a few months time, we got our first order from the Indian Navy. That’s what I do. With Rinema, I want it to be the destination for users before and after watching a movie.”
I might have offended her by asking her that, but it was good to see an intent of perseverance in her answer. And perseverance in entrepreneurship almost always wins.
Check out Rinema and tell us what you think