This woman entrepreneur followed her passion for filmmaking and built a production house worth Rs 5 cr
As COVID-19 threatens lives across the world, the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) India released a short-animated video. In less than a minute, the video portrays a story of two children who see their mother coughing and advise her on the best ways to wear and dispose of a mask in times of coronavirus.
In the same vein, UNICEF also circulated a video educating people on safe practices of quarantining at home.
Deepmala, Founder and CEO of The Visual House
Facilitating these and many other videos to inform and spread social messages is Deepmala, Founder and CEO of The Visual House, a Faridabad-based video production company and creative communications agency, she founded in 2010.
Deepmala, a radio and TV journalism graduate from the International Institute of Mass Media in Delhi, has gone from being a one-woman army to presiding over a 22-member team of researchers, scriptwriters, editors and directors, a graphics and animation team, along with freelancers for different projects.
After spending six months in the newsroom, Deepmala felt the job confined her to just a few tasks and she saw little scope for growth.
Recalling her ticket out of the newsroom, she says, “I got a chance to work on a big project with a production house in Delhi. I anchored a month-long travel show and travelled to nine Indian states and learnt technical aspects of shooting a show.”
Later, she worked with AM Films and Advertising and other production houses before becoming a freelance director for three years from 2006 to 2009 and finally became an entrepreneur with The Visual House in 2010.
A video production company and creative communications agency, the startup makes documentary and short films, commercial and corporate videos in the form of explainers and animated videos.
Apart from handling campaigns as a communications agency, it also provides visually driven content including posters, radio jingles, comic strips, and FAQs, apart from video products.
It counts on various national and international organisations like WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UN Women, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and corporate companies such as BCG India, among its 100 clients.
Started with an initial investment of Rs 10,000, The Visual House saw an impressive uphill journey with a revenue of Rs 5 lakh in the 2010, followed by Rs 15 lakh and Rs 50 lakh in the following years. It has now grown into a business grossing Rs 5 crore in revenue.
A winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2018 for Best Emerging Ads, Documentary, and Short Films production house, the startup received its first project worth more than Rs 1 crore in 2015 when it worked with the country’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
However, the fact that it has retained and still works with its first client Action for Austism, the founder says, speaks of its commitment. It has also gained 70 percent of the clients through references and word-of-mouth.
A journey of experiments
Bootstrapped so far, the entrepreneur says she did not face any challenge financially as the startup has been profitable from the first year of operation.
A millennial hustler, Deepmala works round the clock and confesses that she regrets not spending enough time with her daughter and family members.
“I am a workaholic and while nurturing the growth of this company, I could not give much time to my family. If I had done that, then I wouldn’t have been able to work as much,” she shares, adding that her mother and husband have been supportive through the journey.
A filmmaker ready to experiment with all forms, she has directed a short film, Jhalak starring Amit Sadh of Kai Po Che fame and is currently negotiating with several OTT platforms for its release.
The COVID-19-induced lockdown has impacted the startup’s outdoor projects but has not affected the business severely, apart from a slight dip in March.
In fact, it has presented Deepmala the opportunity to explore a web series and she is now looking forward to seeing how this experiment pans out.