[Podcast] Amagi Labs: The most resilient Indian startup you haven’t heard of

In the latest episode of the Accel podcast, Baskar Subramanian, Co-founder and CEO of Amagi Media Labs, talks about his journey, lessons he learnt during Impulsoft, the beginning of Amagi, and more.
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Amagi Media Labs is a great example of fuss-free success in the otherwise chaotic world of startups. The first thing to note is that Amagi is a seasoned old veteran among its youthful peers.

Founded in 2008, Amagi is a SaaS platform that enables TV networks and content owners to distribute and monetise content across different platforms. 

In May 2021, the Bengaluru-based mediatech startup posted annual revenue growth of 136 percent

In the latest episode of the Accel podcast, Baskar Subramanian, Co-founder and CEO of Amagi Media Labs, talks about his journey, lessons he learnt during Impulsoft, the beginning of Amagi, and more.

Baskar has been an internet entrepreneur and startup founder since before either of those terms were a thing. Having started and sold his first startup in his mid-20s, Baskar, along with a group of friends, started looking for new problems to solve. 

The group set their sights on disrupting television advertising with technology and thus, started Amagi.

Baskar had his humble beginnings in Coimbatore. During the chat, he says how being left-handed and dyslexic had a huge impact on why he was drawn to computers in the first place. 

By 2000, he built Impulsesoft Pvt Ltd — a wireless streaming solution provider and launched its first music headsets by 2002. However, by 2005, the company got acquired by SiRF Technology Holdings.

Talking about his lessons from the exit, Baskar explains why it is important to focus on the market instead of building the solution first and why it isn’t possible to sustain only with software.

Eventually, in 2008, along with Srinivasan KA and Srividhya Srinivasan, he started Amagi to enable local advertisers in 3000+ cities to facilitate geographic targeting of television advertisements, which was widely embraced by the advertisers.

Speaking on the experience during Amagi’s sales years, he learnt about gun licenses (yes, you read that right!), navigating a two-sided challenge in a legacy industry, and negotiating with powerful people. 

For Baskar and the team, 2017 proved to be the year of grit when they had to pivot, faced layoffs, and aligned the board to new goals and objectives. 

The startup ecosystem, Indian or global, sometimes focuses too much on the loud and the noisy. But there’s another kind of startup — quiet, tough and resilient, focused on their business and their goals. It’s clear which kind Amagi is.

Amagi has been in the future since 2008, and we wish them the best with their rocketship.

To know more, listen to the podcast here.

Notes:

2:44 - 3:45: Baskar’s story: Coming from a small-time; being dyslexic but still finding a connection with the computers

3:45 - 5:14: First business stint in Class 11. Building financial products from small businesses.

07:45 - 09:19: Deciding to leave Texas Instruments despite being a top coder and thoughts on starting up.

16:34 - 19:06: Amagi story: Empowering the smaller players to advertise on TV.

20:30 - 22:36: Challenges faced operationally; Extensive travelling in Tier-II cities; facing the cable mafia and getting them on board.

25:23 - 28:34: Facing the problem of scale and changing the targeting through research on larger brands.

32:48 - 39:03: Friction with the TV channels; Broadcasters versus Amagi

35:51 - 38:59: Changing the model and almost starting afresh; tough times as a founder.

41:16 - 44:22: Grit of continuing even during tough times; Unconditional support from the employees.

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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