As part of our BloggersIdeas interview series, today we have Naman Sharma who is making his mark on Indian youth through his skilled entrepreneurship. He is the founder of India’s Coolest Youth Media Brand Uthtime. Infact he is Entrepreneur, Blogger, Film Buff, Writer, Finance Geek and Dreamer. He is running famous Youtube YTV Network channel and this channel is getting huge engagement from youth. I am myself a very big fan of YTv Network.
Lets explore entrepreneurship with Naman Sharma.
First of all thanks a lot for coming on my blog Naman, you made my day by accepting my interview request. Tell me something about yourself & your educational background ?
This one’s a long story. I did my undergraduate and research degree from University of Melbourne, Australia. My majors were Accounting, Finance and Econometrics. During my 1st year holidays, I interned at HSBC (New Delhi) as an analyst. In my 2nd and 3rd Year, I’d short placements with Ernst & Young (Singapore) and ANZ Bank (Melbourne). Soon after I finished my B.Com, I was appointed as a Senior Tutor/Lecturer A at University of Melbourne within the Accounting and Business Information Systems departments under the Faculty of Economics and Commerce for 2 years while I pursued my Accounting Research Degree.
Post that, I’d a choice of going to the United States for further studies or become an analyst with KPMG in Melbourne. I chose neither one and came back to India and Founded U’th Time. A lot of people told me at the time that “It’s too risky” and “Why leave a cushy lifestyle and great place like Melbourne”. But I didn’t want my 20s to be cushy and/or risk free. I wanted to have experiences, failure or success didn’t matter to me…to be honest!
So in short, I’ve been quite confused about what I really want to do all through my studies and professional career. Jokes Apart – I feel all those experiences have enriched me deeply and University of Melbourne as an education institution has played a major role in shaping up my personal and professional life…and continues to do so every day.
How many startups you are running now. Please tell us about them in brief ?
Well I founded U’th Time which now has many verticals like Online Platforms like the website, social media pages and now the you tube channel called YTV Network. We are also venturing into education and primarily focusing on the young audiences in India.
U’th Time is one of India’s Biggest Youth Media Brands. In a short span of time, we have been featured among 10 Recommended Media Youth Brands by Pitch Magazine alongside major brands such as MTV Channel, UTV, Channel V, Radio Mirchi etc.
We have recently associated with highly reputed Film production houses such as Anurag Kashyap Film Production Limited (AKFPL), Eros Int’l, Luminosity Pictures and Storyteller Ink etc. with respect to creating awareness for films targeted at India’s Youth. Other major brand associates include Nike, Levis, BBC, Warner Bros., Fastrack and Pune Fashion Week etc.
In terms of our numbers, We are India’s Biggest Youth Media platform on Facebook with over 617,000 members, Weekly online reach of upto 30,000,000, Readership and an Online Reach of over 50,000,000.
Our YT channel so far has 12 videos with over 6.2 million views and and 20,600 Subscribers. The website gets close to 1.5 million views per month and we are hoping it reaches 5 million views/month.
Who motivated you to step into entrepreneurship? Any mentor you would like to mention here ?
Well my father is the person who has always been my mentor. He was an entrepreneur (he recently passed away) himself and an academic at the same time. He believed in Ideas and encouraged young people (since he was a Principal Director at a big Business school) to focus on entrepreneurship.
Indirectly, entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Brian Acton, Jan Koum, Sachin and Binny Bansal and tones and tones of young people who are not extremely famous but are very inspirational. Nikola Tesla is one person who I would say is my role model. He spent his whole life inventing devices that would serve humanity and make this world a better place to live in. But he died penniless in a small room. So I am guessing I can’t follow him completely!!!
What are the top 3 challenges you faced in entrepreneurship. Please describe them in detail ?
Oh why 3…I can name a Gazillion!
1. In India, I would say its access to infrastructure and think tank that support innovative ideas.
Plus, Entrepreneurship is misunderstood! It’s thought of as something people get involved in if they don’t get a conventional job or career. That’s an absolute misnomer. For e.g. I left a well defined career to start my media company but a lot of people think otherwise.
2. At the end of the day, Entrepreneurship thrives on extreme amounts of self belief and challenging societal norms, both of which are considered to be kind of a taboo in our society. Entrepreneurship is responsible for a lot of people having a job and conventional careers – our society forgets that.
3. Entrepreneurs are assets for our society and are needed desperately in a country with such a large young population and must be supported by the government, equity firms and most of all their families and friends.
How many people are working under your startup. How you manage your team ?
We have a team of around 14 people. But a lot of people are connected with us all over India as virtual interns. They work from homes and contribute to the platform as and how they like. I don’t manage anyone or try to – I just try to give my opinion and motivate them & I strongly believe whatever we have achieved is because of so many people contributing to our platforms.
Do you read inspirational books for motivating yourself, if yes name these books to my readers ?
Well not much of reader but I watch a lot of motivational videos. In terms of books I love ‘The Secret’, ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ & ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’.
Many young guns from India couldn’t enter into entrepreneurship due to family restrictions & other obligations. What is your take on it . How to convince your parents ?
Yes – that’s a tragedy. So many potentially great ideas gone to waste. May be we lost out on a Facebook like idea. I had it v.easy to be honest – my dad always wanted me towork on innovative ideas entrepreneur. Parents want security but nothing amazing can come to the fore if you fear going wrong.
What is the one big reason behind your entrepreneurship?
I Feel it’s my dream to create something that would last long after I pass away. It’s the feeling of being of some slight importance in whatever life I get on this planet.
What is the potential total market size for your product today & what is its growth rate?
I have not done the maths to be honest but the potential size should definitely be in Billions of Dollars. Our areas of interest are the internet and young people. Both are high growth area in India so I am guessing we are in for a great time.
What potential market share you can achieve?
We are definitely in the top 3 in our target sector (Youth Media). We can definitely achieve 25 percent of the market share.
What kind of risks you are facing from your competitors ?
Not much really. We started 2.5 years ago and if you take into account all our platforms very few are near us in terms of Brand visibility. But the potential size is huge and am friends with most of the guys doing something similar so I wish the best for everybody .
Why audience will be your repeat customers?
We are in the business of content so repeat customer/audience is the only way we can have a sustainable model. We create, curate and publish some of the best content for young Indians globally & that’s the only reason we reach million/week via our platforms.
What Do You Want Out of This entrepreneurship Experience?
Creating the biggest Youth media brand and ultimately opening up the media consumption for the audience.
Why do you think Online marketing industry would sustain your interest in the long haul?
Online is not one of the marketing – it will be the only way going forward. Creatively & Economically – advertisers will find it to be the most viable option in the next 5 years compared to the other platforms.
What you do generally do on weekends? Any creative stuffs you do?
Hang out with friends and watch movies. I can watch movies on loop.
Which Three Adjectives Describe Your Strengths?
3H’s – Honesty, Hardwork and Humour. Yes, Humour is extremely important since being a businessman is quite disappointing a lot of times. So you need laugh things off a lot of times and move on.
How you are using social media to drive traffic to your youtube channel? Share any 3 strategies that will drive traffic to your website ?
70 percent of our traffic comes from social media. We try to create interesting thumbnails, titles and obviously great content. Sharable content is what our focus is on – that’s the holy grail of making your business a success on social media.
If you have any questions about this interview, please do ask in the comments below !