talentrack - A Digital Talent Hiring Platform for Media and Entertainment Industry
‘Vineet what you are doing is transformational. If things keep going the way you have planned, hiring in the media & entertainment industry will be remembered forever as before and after talentrack.'
Founded in January 2016 by Vineet Bajpai, talentrack is the web+mobile talent-exchange and artist-aggregator of the media & entertainment industry. So far hiring in the media, entertainment, creative & art (MECA) space has been exceptionally vibrant, and yet very unorganized and obsolete. In a way the MECA domain sees significantly higher recruitment activity than any other sector because unlike the corporate space where people get employed with a single organization for years, artists are very fast-moving and get employed only for a few days or weeks at a time depending on the nature of the project. This increases the overall hiring-velocity of the entire industry and every artist is engaged by not one but numerous recruiters in say one year’s time. The number of recruitment transactions we are talking about is unimaginable, especially when we take regional cinema, television and advertising also into consideration. Given this diverse and intense hiring dynamics, the need for an organized and reliable online platform was very pronounced. This is where talentrack came in.
In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Vineet Bajpai, Founder & CEO, talentrack, shares his entrepreneurial journey.
talentrack was an idea that germinated in my mind when I was still the CEO of TBWA\India Group, one of the largest advertising networks in the country. This was in January 2015 and I remember being in my hotel room in Dubai during a business trip, when the concept of talentrack slowly evolved in my mind. I spent many weekends over several months researching the media & entertainment space, and finally concluded that talentrack was going to be a game-changing tech company. Of course at that time I did not know we were going to call it by this name! As I studied the media, entertainment, creative & art space (MECA space as we call it internally) in detail, some startling facts came to light. Media & entertainment industry is the second-largest employment generator of the Indian economy after IT & ITES; it is a USD 21 billion industry at the moment, poised to touch USD 100 billion by 2025; the central resource of this industry is artists, and tens of millions of people are employed in this sector; we are the world’s largest film-industry and the world’s third-largest television market. And despite all the above – there existed absolutely no tech-based talent or industry aggregator in this space. Unlike the corporate sector where talent-hiring and professional networking are extremely organized and tech-enabled with the likes of Naukri.com, LinkedIn.com, Shine.com, TimesJobs.com etc, the MECA industry continued to operate in a scattered and archaic way. The industry needed a player like talentrack, and we stepped forward to leverage this lucrative opportunity. The company was officially launched in the first week of January, 2016.
Special key features
With talentrack now recruiters as well as artists can manage the entire hiring process end-to-end on their mobile phone via its mobile app or simple web-based dashboards on the website. What used to take weeks and months of slow and frustrating rigour, can now be achieved with a few clicks. Today talentrack has over 1,00,000 self-registered artists onboard along with 1,500 industry recruiters. talentrack aggregates artists across all categories – actors, models, photographers, writers, singers, designers, comedians, dancers and more. The recruiter community includes the entire film industry (Hindi & regional), television channels (English, Hindi & regional), production houses, event companies, casting agencies, fashion houses and advertising agencies.
The talentrack website and mobile app allow artists to build cutting-edge online portfolios and micro-websites for themselves, that include high-resolution photos, video links, audio files, descriptions and more. Artists can search for jobs, apply for open vacancies/auditions, promote their portfolios and audition online. Similarly recruiters can use advanced search filters and sophisticated dashboards to hunt for talent in real-time through mobile auditions, shortlist them, post jobs / auditions, create projects and hire talent.
While there are some other players that have come up after the launch of talentrack, we are significantly ahead of all of them in terms of the sheer industry aggregation we have achieved. Our next competitor has less than 10% of the artist-pool that we have created.
We raised seed-capital of USD 1 million over the first six months of starting. While VC sentiment was at its lowest when we hit the market (February 2016!), we were able to raise this round fairly efficiently. Our investors found the business model of talentrack compelling, and realized quickly that the company was addressing a very real and very vast unmet demand. Our primary investors were Unigrowth, a Canada-based India-focused investment fund, along with two very high-quality HNIs of esteemed corporate standing. We were able to work with a strong valuation right from the outset.
Our revenue model is very robust with multiple revenue streams at play. The dynamics of the MECA industry allow us to leverage both demand as well as supply side markets for income generation. While there are several sub-business models active on our platform simply as an outcome of the industry-aggregation we are doing, our primary revenue heads are - Database Subscription Fee from Recruiters; Artist Premium Membership Revenue; Advertising Revenue; and lastly revenues from our Community to Commerce (C2C) model.
The primary challenge we faced was that a majority of the large VC firms we met were in a strange state of hibernation. The rich business model of talentrack, the quality of promoters, the sophistication of our web+mobile product, the very clear size of the market and the real unmet demand…one would think talentrack would be a no-brainer for most VC teams. But like I said, we met these firms when the sentiment was at its bottom-most. We were delighted to have finally raised money from Unigrowth, who did not take more than a week to sign the cheque.
You will be happy to know that talentrack has over 1,00,000 self-registered artists on board, which makes us the market-leader of this space by far. What is more exciting is that we have artists from over 600 Indian cities and towns on board! This should give you an idea of the reach and penetration of talentrack, as well as of the mammoth untapped talent-potential of our country. So while our main strongholds are metros like Mumbai and Delhi NCR, we are equally popular in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India. Our platform processes over 25,000 job / audition applications a month and we have over 2,60,000 followers on Facebook.
Today we work with some of the finest recruiters in the industry. talentrack is the official talent-partner for The Voice India 2016, a mega reality show produced by none other than Endemol Shine, global leaders of non-scripted content. We hope to partner them for the next season of Bigg Boss as well. We are also working with other big names like Shashi Sumeet Productions (producers of popular TV serial Diya Aur Baati Hum), Radio Mirchi and more.
Any interesting quote about your venture
Yes I can share one very encouraging statement a potential investor made. After seeing the demo of the entire platform and understanding the real potential of talentrack, he said, ‘Vineet what you are doing is transformational. If things keep going the way you have planned, hiring in the media & entertainment industry will be remembered forever as before and after talentrack.'
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