Created for creative professionals, how BananaBandy organizes $1 billion creative marketTausif Alam
The Indian creative industry, which spans a wide range of fields - from arts and designing to photography to animation - is growing exponentially. There’s no dearth of demand and available talent in this segment. In spite of the availability of adequate talent, the industry often struggles to discover and tap into suitable ones. The reason is that there aren’t enough platforms on which industry players and the creative community can meet, other than consultancies.
Launched in February 2015 by Shashank Jogani, 21 and Kavan Antani, 19, BananaBandy is a platform which caters to all the requirements of the Indian creative ecosystem. With the aim of addressing the aforementioned challenge in the industry, it has created an integrated creative platform for students, professionals, institutes and design-focused companies.
“We cater to the Indian creative ecosystem. On our website, any creative can sign up, upload his/her portfolio, interact with like-minded professionals, and also explore projects of different genres,” says Kavan Antani, Co-founder and CEO, BananaBandy.
He further adds that the platform also serves as a portal for potential employers to recruit the creative talents who best fit their needs and budget. It focuses on connecting the right talent with the right company.
BananaBandy is a combination of a community, where users showcase their work, like and share projects, and follow other creatives, and a marketplace, where companies can appoint creatives based on their portfolios. The Indian creative community itself needs to come together, to boost and inspire the work done in the country.
In India, design-focused companies rely solely on their databases and referrals to find creative talent. This is the case everywhere, right from MNCs to small studios. “We are a homegrown platform that showcases more talent than companies’ networks will have access to. Thus we often connect companies up with exactly the right talent for them. We also expose Indian creative talent to many more opportunities. In a nutshell, we are a LinkedIn for Indian creative professionals; instead of resumés we have portfolios,” says Kavan.
BananaBandy claims to have accumulated over 3600 registered users, and seen over 1500 projects uploaded, through only word-of-mouth publicity. Within a month of introducing the jobs section, it has seen about 100 companies posting over 130 job requirements on the site.
“As a company, we haven’t even touched our six-month mark yet. In this early period, we are seeing a 50 percent growth in our user base and traffic month-on-month. We have also gone from being a two-member company to an all-round five member team, with which we hope to hit our short-term future targets,” says Kavan.
Creative talents need monetization and opportunities to join the website, whereas companies need a good list of creative professionals to post job requirements.
“However, constant communications with our users, and frequent meetings, have ensured that we have overcome these things to a great extent. This is how we’ve formed a strong community of creative, and attracting 100+ companies, within a month of launching our jobs module,” says Kavan.
In the long run, the venture also expects to face problems with established companies’ recruitments, as they have tedious procedures and compliances they carry out before hiring employees or using the services of freelancers. It is thus currently developing some unique proposals on a company basis to tackle these problems.
BananaBandy started off as a fully bootstrapped company. However, within a month of the platform launching, it raised a seed round at Rs 2.5 crore valuation from Srinivasa Aluri, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Private Equity and Chaitanya Deshpande, former M&A Head, Marico. The venture is using the funds for marketing, innovation, product enhancement, and setting up advanced systems in the company.
Kavan says the creative industry of India contributes more than $1 billion to the economy. Fresh figures have not been released, but their market research, in addition to various reports released by the India Design Council, made them realize that this is an enormous market to venture into.
“We are India’s first market network for creative professionals, and we don’t face direct competition from any other website. We believe that instead of a competitive one, we are in a complementary space, as we wish to benefit creative individuals in all spheres,” says Kavan.
However, there are portfolio sites in the space like Behance, and Touchtalent, and marketplaces like Postergully and Cupick, which make the market competitive.
In 2014, Touchtalent, the social networking site and platform for artists to sell their work, raised USD 700K from SAIF Partners and 15 other angel investors.
In June 2015, PosterGully, the curated marketplace for artists and designers, raised a $160K angel round from a group of angel investors through LetsVenture. During the same month, Chennai-based Termsheet.io facilitated an investment of $120,000 (Rs. 75 lakhs) for Bangalore-based startup Cupick.com, a marketplace for creative artists.