[YS Learn] How video translation startup Vitra.ai attracted investors, starting with 100X.VC
A lot of people have asked me this question — “What does ‘Vitra’ mean? Does it have roots or linked to a Sanskrit word?”
I so wish that was the case. I have searched it in Sanskrit vocabulary, but Vitra doesn't mean anything. Vitra.ai simply stands for video translation using artificial intelligence (AI).
We had to come up with a name in two hours as we had to demo our MVP to KRS Jamwal back in October/November 2020, and this is the best we could do.
Akash Nidhi PS and I have known each other for over 12 years. We are bench-mates since our pre-university days, and we have built a lot of applications and products in the past and have enjoyed it.
The idea of translating videos was ideated in 2017. It was for the Google News Innovation challenge (GNI). But our application was rejected. So, we just paused the idea and moved on.
In late 2019, Akash and I got together to brainstorm a list of ideas. We had 12 ideas that we had to choose from. We brainstormed at WeWork for a week on various factors like — market, wow factor, usefulness, need-gap, etc.
The idea of video translation made it to the top of our ideas list in every single way.
Image credit: Daisy
My thought process was — everyone creates high-quality content, but getting the reach is the biggest problem. Whether you are an enterprise, startup, or a YouTube or Instagram influencer, everyone has the same problem — "I am not able to reach my right audience."
I worked for a company that spent a few crores in advertising in Europe using English ads. However, the company was dissatisfied as its ROI was poor. When I looked closely, the only problem was language.
Europe is a diverse continent with a variety of languages. It would've been ideal to target them in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. But, the problem was — "How do we find people to translate it to so many languages?"
It was a no-brainer. The video market is unstoppable today. No chain, no lock can hold the world from creating content. So, we built Vitra.ai to finally help content creators and enterprises reach their target audience with just one click.
Mentorship and scaling of Vitra.ai
We were a part of the Y Combinator Startup School and were mentored by YC mentors during our early stage. Then, we were a part of V@C, where we were mentored by Vibhuti, Prashant, Shruti, and Nisar. That's when our product had started shaping up. Their initial guidance helped us to take our first step to fundraise.
We started our journey of fundraising and started talking to angels and micro-VCs. Everyone was interested in our product. They were very excited about the way we were solving it and liked our team. The product had traction in the market, but it was very new.
The chance to talk to 100X.VC
We were raising money for the last six months, and we got a lot of interest from investors, angel networks, etc.
Then, we got a chance to meet 100X.VC. They loved our team, product, value proposition, vision, etc., and said, "Let's finish the whole process by this week."
From my minimal knowledge and my network of startups, I have always known that it takes at least 30-90 days to close a funding round in the best-to-average case scenario.
I was surprised that it would take less than a week to close the round. I remember calling Yagnesh and Shashank multiple times, trying to confirm what I heard was right or if I was missing something.
In less than one week, with just a couple of calls, we had the money in the bank, and 100X.VC team said, "Let's get started."
As 100X.VC rightly says — the process is truly funding simplified.
After signing the term sheet with 100X, there hasn't been a single moment of regret. It's the best place to get started for an entrepreneur. Especially if you are a first-time entrepreneur, it is recommended you get started at 100X.VC.
The amount of quality mentoring that founders undergo at 100X.VC — in the process of 30 days — is phenomenal. Every masterclass is a gem of its own, where industry leaders share from their over 20 years of experience in one to two hours.
As a founder, your job is to observe hundreds of journeys of experts and figure out what works best for your startup. The masterclass is one of the best parts of being a part of 100X.VC.
In a real-world scenario, there is fairly less chance that you'll get to talk to hundreds of leaders whose focus is to mentor you in the masterclass.
Special moments from masterclasses
In his opening note, Ninad Karpe while sharing a video demo of F1, said, "If it takes just two seconds or less to change F1 car tires, what is taking you so long to make a decision?"
Sanjay Mehta's session on how to build a startup, stories of his portfolio, etc., was just amazing. Few things that I have taken note of from Sanjay's wisdom sessions are — "Hunger to win is the key to success. Be humble, be grateful, and be thankful.”
There is more. Sajith Pai's highly valuable thoughts and framework on how to pitch effectively, KRS Jamwal's in-depth discussions with every startup, Japan Vyas's suggestion to raise fund when it's available and not when you need it, and Vishesh Rajaram's thoughts — "Hire the best team. The best team is one of the key factors for success."
We also had very insightful information from Amit Somani on his journey from being a software engineer to a managing partner at Prime Ventures. Also, Ravi Takur's thoughts on why a VC will invest in your company, and many more, helped us prepare ourselves for venture capital funding.
Special thanks to Pratik Poddar and follow-up call with Jishnu Bhattacharjee.
Very interesting thoughts by Vikram Chachra on “How India has a ‘hero’ culture, and you have to be that hero to win in India,” changed the way I thought of marketing the product. “You have to lead your company to success by being that hero,” he said.
Vishal Krishna's thoughts on why PR is important, and how to approach media were very useful. That was a dimension I hadn't thought of earlier.
"If you start discounting, then that becomes a habit," Mitesh Shah said. As startups, we discount for the first few companies with a thought-process of converting them as customers. This was a thought-provoking suggestion.
Ambi Parameswaran's suggestions on how to position yourself as a startup was very helpful. Our Q&A with Jatin Desai helped us understand more about the tech fund. Uday Sodhi's journey at SonyLiv, and his views on how media is growing today digitally, gave us a lot of insights.
Suresh Sambandam once told me, "Satvik, just raise $50 million and all you need is marketing. Don't do a sales-approach. Go for full-on marketing."
Thank you so much for appreciating our product and boosting our confidence. We are going for the market-first approach.
I have surely missed out on so many valuable points from other masterclass mentors. That's because I want to keep this as an article, not a book.
It's not about ideas, it's about making ideas happen
I thank the 100X.VC team — Sanjay, Yagnesh, Vatsal, Ninad, and Shashank — for everything that you've given us, and for shaping our idea into a well-prepped startup.
Sanjay's suggestions for growth, network, etc., Yagnesh's continuous mentoring on the finance and investing side, Vatsal's effort on masterclasses and pitch, Ninad's words of wisdom that stuns all of us, and Shashank's thoughts on what a startup should be — that one month has been transformational.
I feel I'm a different person altogether. It's like reading the top 500 books in every field to acquire knowledge and wisdom, but the best part is, you get it all in just 30 days at 100X.VC.
Pitch day was simply amazing. It was so insightful talking to hundreds of investors after that. Pitch day is surely one of the most important parts of 100X.VC's journey. Thousands of investors from around the world attend it, and what's better than that?
This is how we invited all investors from all over India for 100X.VC's pitch day:
To upcoming Class 4 batch
Yes! it is tough to make it to 100X.VC or any other similar fund. But, never stop applying. It takes time and effort. Is it worth it? Yes, it is!
Just get started. This opportunity just knocks once, and you have to grab it. You'll only realise its value once you are a part of it.
If you want to learn, grow, and scale, 100X.VC is the way out for you.
Excited about Vitra.ai?
Don't hold yourself back. Whether you are a company or an influencer, reach and growth are the problems, one of the main reasons is you are targeting your audience in the wrong language.
Whether you are an edtech, media, social media influencer, marketing ads, etc., it's time to grow your audience.
What's stopping you from growing globally?
Reach eight-billion people with just one-click using Vitra.ai
Grow your audience reach by 10X with just one-click using Vitra.ai
Video translation to 50+ languages
Audio and podcast translation to 50+ languages
Speech to text (with translation) to 50+ languages
Text to speech (with translation) to 50+ languages
Disclaimer: Views represented in this article are that of the author and do not represent the views of YourStory. This article was originally published on LinkedIn.