Viraj Sheth on his entrepreneurial journey and starting influencer marketing agency Monk Entertainment
Viraj Sheth, Co-founder of Monk Entertainment, believes it is very important for entrepreneurs to find their partner co-founder with whom they build their business. He personally thinks that it is advantageous for entrepreneurs to partner with someone whom they know personally or socially.
The entrepreneurial journey for Viraj began right after completing his graduation with his college senior Ranveer Allahbadia, popularly known as BeerBiceps on social media.
“He was two years senior to me in college. We were still friends and we worked on a couple of projects together and did some internships together. That’s how we built a rapport and thought why don’t we start something together. Once he had graduated, I still had two years to complete my degree. He took that time to build his YouTube channel, which about 100,000 subscribers, and that’s when we re-connected,” Viraj says.
Viraj began his entrepreneurial journey after Ranveer requested him to manage the brands that approached for influencer marketing. Finding opportunity in the segment, the duo launched Monk Entertainment, a digital media startup, in 2018, to focus on providing talent management, video production, social media management, and influencer marketing.
“We are about 45 to 50 team members right now. In terms of the kind of brands, we are working with about 75-100 odd brands. We have been working a lot in the fintech and edtech space right now, especially with COVID-19, we had to pivot. Before COVID, we were working a lot with pure play consumer product brands,” he adds.
Launching a digital media startup
Viraj explains that his parents were not quite pro-business. Like most parents, they wanted him to take up a normal job after engineering.
“Imagine some 21-year-old going to parents and saying I want to leave my stable job and do something on YouTube. They’re going to think I am stupid. So I told them that I will do the job for a few months. The day I make enough money from this business, I will quit my job and take this up full time. I had the job for about three months after which I put in my papers. So that is how it all happened,” he says.
Monk Entertainment has scaled up and now works with some of the most popular brands including Nykaa Man, Groww, Skillshare, and GOQii among others.
Speaking about starting up at an early age, Viraj explains that while he did feel he was entering into business without job experience or without any idea about how the corporate world works, he eventually made mistakes and has also learned from them and grown.
“I have made a lot of mistakes. Tomorrow if I were to start a completely different startup, I would know where not to go and what not to do,” he adds.
He explains that Ranveer mostly focuses on Beer Biceps because the more it grows, the more Monk Entertainment will also grow. While Viraj mainly focuses on bringing sales, Jhalak Rawal later joined the Monk Entertainment team as the COO to manage the business.
In this episode of 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, a series featuring founders, venture capitalists, and angel investors, Viraj spoke to Siddhartha Ahluwalia about his entrepreneurial journey, starting a digital media company, and the future of influencer marketing.
Listen to the podcast here
01:14 – Starting Monk Entertainment with Ranveer Allahbadia
06:33 – Working part-time on acquiring clients and Quitting a stable job
08:07 – Growing the startup at the age of 25
10:11 – Current scale at Monk-E
15:35 – Building monetization & business model with creators
19:39 – What differentiates them from other Influencer Marketing Agencies?
22:16 – Setting the right practices for influencers while interacting with brands
23:40 – How is India’s influencer market space evolving?
26:27 – Segmenting creators
30:51 – Two rules to grow the audience on Twitter
35:22 – Structuring and organizing the workflow at Monk-E
39:50 – Learnings from Ranveer Allahbadia
Edited by Megha Reddy