As kids, we all oscillated between different future career paths. One day, we wanted to be journalists, the next day space engineers. But Rashika Jain, Founder, Video Factory, always had a clear goal since the time she was in the sixth or seventh standard - to become an entrepreneur.
After an engineering and MBA degree, Rashika started working at a corporate firm. But two years into it, she decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge. “One fine day I just left it all. All this while, I kept thinking, I'll get an idea, I'll have a venture, and then I will leave my corporate job. But the job is so demanding, you can't do both,” she says. In the six months that followed, Rashika had almost a hundred different business ideas, all noted down in an ‘Idea Book’. In her quest for finding the right business, she started attending startup events across the country, speaking to startup entrepreneurs, reading startup stories and blogs. It was while speaking to entrepreneurs that she realised they struggled to explain their startup ideas as a result of which they were losing opportunities. This was the gap Rashika eventually set out to bridge with Video Factory.
Video Factory, a video production and animation company, was born with the aim to help businesses simplify and enhance the effectiveness of their communication through videos. With a small team, the startup began operations as an explainer video company doing everything, whether it was marketing, sales operations, managing the project or even getting the voiceover artists. “We didn't really need any kind of investment. We bought subscriptions of softwares, which were not very expensive. And we launched our website and YouTube channel,” recalls the founder. While her MBA background helped her manage the business side of things, Rashika realised they needed someone to look after the creative side of the business. “That’s when I got my sister, a NIFT designer with 10+ years of experience in the creative field, to come on board as a co-founder. Since then there has been no looking back,” she says.
A unique edge
Early on, Video Factory realised that while anyone with basic animation skills can make a video, it requires effort to put the right idea across to the client and understanding their requirements. Rashika believes that the startup has always been more than videos; it is a content company that helps businesses outline their goals in an interesting manner. “We are very quick with our deliveries by almost half the industry standards. We devised ways and mechanisms to templatise a lot of things, not in terms of design, but in our internal processes. So, if someone takes three weeks to do something, we can do it in a week, or maybe 10 days,” she says. The team has also worked on providing clients with more language options by creating an ecosystem of language experts to work on various projects that require diverse languages.
Today, the team offers marketing or branding videos, which include explainer videos, promotional videos, presentation videos, product videos, manufacturing and store shoots, and corporate videos. They also have another segment for training and e-learning videos. Through these services, Rashika aims to help her clients simplify complex business ideas, save money and time by marketing through digital channels, achieve greater reach, and overcome language and geographical barriers.
Tiding over challenges
Getting the right employees on board was a challenge for Video Factory. “I wondered whether to hire the manpower first, or to start making some money and then get more employees on board. It was like a chicken and egg story. Of course, then we realised that you have to get the people first. When you have people and a fixed expense, you will automatically start earning for it,” shares Rashika.
Another challenge was to understand the online medium. While Rashika wanted her business to be online, she didn’t have enough knowledge to start work in that direction. To that end, she pursued a digital marketing course and started applying her education to her business’s real problems. Despite belonging to a family of entrepreneurs, nobody was in the online space. “They could teach me how to use tally and how to do accounts about business. But this was a totally new domain, the entire online world was new, and to run a business in that was a different ball game altogether,” she says.
The team started with very small companies as clients — mostly through Rashika’s network of startup entrepreneurs — until eventually they bagged a big name. From there, they got another major brand on their roster, which came with a larger scope of work - 100 videos in a month. Rashika says, “In the entire previous year, we did 200 videos and someone was asking us to do 100 videos in a month. We couldn’t say no because it was such a big brand and the videos were very interesting too.”
Video Factory explored further opportunities during COVID-19. As the world tried to cope with remote working, online classes, technological adoption, digital promotions and more, businesses had to reimagine strategies. Rashika says that videos for training, social media promotions, presentations in webinars, etc started to really help businesses overcome these new challenges, alongside Video Factory’s expertise.
Video Factory launched with a website and a YouTube channel. “Obviously our online presence grew with time and today we heavily rely on it for our growth,” Rashika adds. The .in domain extension was a representation of the company’s roots. “We are a proud Indian company full of young and bright Indian minds. And we are very happy to showcase that through our website. We want our clients, within India and overseas, to know that we have Indian roots,” she says.
Elaborating further, Rashika explains how many of their biggest clients started collaborating with them after finding them online. She adds that today many Indian companies are more comfortable working with Indian brands for videos that have an Indian context. “For instance, training of farmers in vernacular languages will be understood and delivered best by an Indian video company. So .in extension helps organisations find the right Indian partner. A lot of overseas businesses also like to outsource their work to Indians and the .in extension helps them identify us,” she says.
Another benefit is the ease of getting the name of a company registered with the .in extension and how it helps in quicker ranking on search engines - both directly and indirectly. “A website works better in terms of search engine optimisation and search ads as many of our potential customers are searching for video solution providers online. Having a website not only helps in the rankings but also search,” she says.
Like Video Factory, the National Internet Exchange for India (NIXI) is helping hundreds of startups across the country and segments to get a .in or .Bharat domain. Apart from cost-effectiveness, another advantage of getting a domain name from NIXI is that one can choose from 22 languages. This will help businesses be more visible to the right audience.
The way ahead
While Video Factory is consistently scaling up, they are far from satisfied. Rashika wants the company to become an expert in the learning and development segmentas it covers 40-50 percent of their portfolio.
The team also hopes to work with bigger names on bigger projects to further grow in the field. Rashika is currently in the middle of a Stanford programme to gain more business insights, as she and her partner are simultaneously also working on a plan to scale. “Whether it is using digital marketing to scale or expanding internationally, all of these things are being worked upon,” she says.
From a three-member team, Video Factory today has grown to 25 members across Kolkata and Bengaluru, delivering over 1,000 videos to 400+ businesses across 15 countries. Rashika says that working with the biggest brands in the world has helped them learn at an exponential rate. “Five years and one pandemic later, we have grown in strength with the public health and development sectors as well. We have supported various organisations by transforming their offline training to online mediums. So in many ways, the online path has chosen us just like we chose it,” she signs off.
The ‘Shaping India Inc's Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.