ThisDay platform strives to bring those days alive with engaging creator-led stories

Through its storytelling platform ThisDay, Delhi NCR-based startup Ekank Technologies aims to make history and culture fascinating for people through design-driven, creator-led content.
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Indian history is full of incredible stories – of people big and small, of events lost in the passage of time, of fleeting moments of victory and long periods of perseverance.

It is these forgotten stories of historical and cultural significance that Ekank Technologies is striving to bring to the forefront through its storytelling platform ThisDay

Ekank Technologies, co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Summit Nayak and Chetan Rexwal in 2020, is a Delhi NCR-based startup that aims to democratise non-fiction content and make forgotten history and lost art, culture and heritage accessible to people through design-driven, creator-led content. 

ThisDay, launched in 2021, enables storytelling in an engaging manner through text, comics, and attractive illustrations. The startup encourages micro influencers and content creators to share content and connect with a wide audience base.

“We (Summit and Chetan) have travelled together to different countries and cities for years now. What fascinated us were the stories behind different cities, food, monuments, and so on. Our fascination for stories led to the founding of Ekank," says Summit.

The company wants stories from all corners of the country to be accessible in just a few clicks.

Content on the platform

The content on the platform is generated by storytellers and content creators.

ThisDay has stories across 32 categories, including architecture, astronomy, culture, economy, literature, pop culture, sports, and entertainment. The content, which is free for users, is available in Hindi and English at the moment, on ThisDay’s website and mobile app. 

Initially, the platform hosted content related to history and culture. Then it expanded to include stories on regional festivals and lesser-known people who have significantly impacted society. 

Summit explains, “For example, we have stories of Kadambini Ganguly, the first female Western medicine practitioner in India, and Durgabai Deshmukh, a lawyer and freedom fighter. We also cover stories of people like Sridevi and Nargis, who are popular, but the struggle behind them is unknown.”

ThisDay’s app is in beta and available only on Android. Ekank is planning to launch an iOS app by September this year. 

Summit says ThisDay caters to audiences with different consumption patterns. “It is meant for everyone, irrespective of their level of interest in culture or history.”

The platform doesn’t allow content that contains hate speech, encourages violence, or promotes terrorism. 

Creators’ community

Content creators get on board after thorough evaluation and are given access to a set of tools that will help them tell stories and become part of the ThisDay community. 

Registered storytellers get time-bound assignments, which are assessed and peer-reviewed by storytellers from the community. Then the stories go live on the platform. 

The story is about the unknown and unexplored Odisha in its pre-historic days. Though the story is about Odisha, it was read in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Indore and Jaipur. According to the company, if history and culture are presented in a fun way, they appeal to everyone.

“Going the publishing route would limit creativity to that of our team. The creator-led approach ensures there is freshness in the stories and an undying appeal for end users. Our creators are spread across the country and write stories about the regions they belong to, ensuring a personal touch,” says Summit.

Revenue model 

Ekank initiates collaborations with brands and reaches out to creators with storytelling opportunities. 

The company’s revenue model is advertisement-led. According to Summit, creators are paid 40 to 60 percent of the ad revenue generated per story. 

“The creator payout model ensures that each story ends up earning the creator a certain sum in addition to the future ad revenue share," explains the founder.

Creators generate revenue via a revenue share model for as long as the story remains live on the platform.

According to Summit, creators look for three things — reach, recognition, and money and ThisDay helps them achieve these. “We want every creator to be able to reach as many users as possible with their stories, be it individually or through collaboration with other creators.”

The company is also exploring other models, including licensing of content IP and other brand partnerships. 

Numbers at a glance

The platform has had 28.3 million users since its inception and close to 13 million  monthly active users. It has seen around 2,000 downloads so far. Users are mainly from tier II and tier III cities, such as Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Indore, Patna, Lucknow, and Nagpur. 

ThisDay has nearly 50 creators/writers and over 6,000 stories in various categories, each with a two-minute read time. The startup claims that users spend over 80 minutes per month consuming stories. 

The platform generated Rs 1.35 crore in revenue in FY22.

The global digital content creation market is expected to be worth $38.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 12 percent.

Funding 

In January 2022, Ekank Technologies raised $1 million from 9Unicorns, Venture Catalysts, Titan Capital, Bharat Founders Fund Syndicate, and Sujeet Kumar (co-founder of Udaan), with participation from Archana Priyadarshini, Amit Jain, Amit Hooja, and Deepak Jain (Partner at Bain).

Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder of 9Unicorns and Venture Catalysts, says, “It’s fascinating to see how history and culture get promoted through this platform and make people feel more connected. With the growing consumption of vernacular content across different platforms, we see a massive opportunity for Ekank in this segment that is still untapped.”

The team

Summit has over seven years of experience in content, SaaS, mobile internet business development, sales, and team building. Chetan Rexwal, co-founder, has nine years of technology and product experience in mobile internet, user growth optimization, and scaling AI. The founders’ previous ventures include Staqu Technologies and Cube26 (which was sold to Paytm). 

The founders initially invested Rs 30 lakh from personal savings to bootstrap the startup.

The Ekank team has 19 full-time members across tech, community, content, design, and business. 

Road ahead

The startup is building a comprehensive suite of features that will enable collaboration between creators from different parts of the country and across media format preferences. It also plans to add content in 12 more languages. 

Ekank is building an audio portfolio hosting over 100 hours of audio stories. The startup is also working on presenting titbits and fun facts in the form of games. 

Ekank is in the process of onboarding more visual storytellers, narrators, and writers across other languages. “This will enable the collaboration process further amongst our creators and let users consume stories across various media formats and languages,” says Summit.

Ekank is looking to generate over Rs 5.54 crore in ad revenue on ThisDay by the end of FY23.

(This story was updated to correct a typo.)

Edited by Swetha Kannan

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