Women are a big part of Make In India. As SheThePeople Founder Shaili Chopra says Make In India shouldn’t be a lion but a lioness. As part of our ongoing effort to put the spotlight on entrepreneurs and women startup owners, we are featuring Wishberry, that’s an end-to-end solution to all crowdfunding needs of creative artists.
Priyanka Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO at Wishberry speaks to SheThePeople.TV about her idea to inception journey
How do you drive innovation and creativity in your business?
Charitable causes get plenty of support via CSR funding, government grants, HNI contributions, etc. Startup business ventures have VCs to turn to. Where does the burgeoning artist go? Helping independent creative artists in India (think film makers, musicians, theatre groups, etc.) to bring their ideas to life was the biggest driving factor behind Wishberry. Wishberry pioneered rewards-based crowdfunding for creative artists and currently stands as the largest in this segment (surpassing international stalwart Indiegogo in 2015!).
What’s your vision for your firm and what did you want to do with it when you took charge?
One of the biggest milestones in the lifespan of Wishberry has been that three of the films, which have crowdfunded on our platform have gone on to winning National Awards. Our vision is to create Wishberry as one single platform for sharing and backing of creative ideas. A platform which might or rather I would say, which will end up giving India its next Oscar winning film or Grammy award winning music album.
Majority of the businesses in the world are male dominated and will always be. Women will always need to strive that extra mile to make their space in any business
What has been the most rewarding part of building the business?
Due to lack of funds, a major portion of the immense creative talent in India is unable to come to light, as most of the artists take up full time jobs to earn their daily bread and butter. The most satisfying part about starting Wishberry is to enable and motivate these closeted artists to pursue their creative talent as a profession and not just as a weekend hobby. For instance, we had V. Ravi Shankar who works as Business practice Head at Infosys raise around INR 41 lacs on our platform for India’s first Sanskrit animated film Punyakoti.
How would you define your effort for Wishberry and the industry as a whole in one crisp sentence?
Create a community of backers and artists, which would together give India its next Oscar winning film.
One quote that defines Women Power in India: If women can create life, what can possibly stop them from creating a successful business
What does the Made in India tag on a product mean to you? Has that changed in the course of your career?
Growing up, the tag “Made in India” would signify a misplaced sense of nationalism and propaganda by the indian government to discourage indian consumers from buying foreign products. However, after starting Wishberry, and witnessing first hand the unfunded and unsupported raw creative talent in this country, be it in music, film, theatre, dance or art, the tag “Made in India” instils a sense of pride in me. That’s why our mission at Wishberry is to crowdfund an Oscar and/or Grammy nomination “Made in India”.
Please tell as about a person who has mentored you professionally, or whom you view as an inspiration for your career.
Anshulika and I both accredit a large part of Wishberry’s success to the crucial guidance we received from Vijay Anand, founder of TheStartupCentre and in50hours, who helped us through the funding process, and Datta Dave who being from the film industry, provided us with valuable insights and guidelines into our way forward.
Please nominate one exciting young entrepreneur/professional to watch out for in your industry.
Perry Chen, one of the founders of Kickstarter
What was it like being part of an industry like yours?
We entered the market in India, when people weren’t even much familiar with crowdfunding. It was stereotyped as a practice in the charity space, wherein funds were only being raised for social causes. The most exciting part of our journey in this industry has been to educate people about crowdfunding and its usefulness in not just charity but also the creative space. We are always thrilled to see the curiosity and the excitement on people’s face when they hear about what we do.
How have your male peers taken to your success, how did you deal with them given this is a male dominated business?
Majority of the businesses in the world are male dominated and will always be. Women will always need to strive that extra mile to make their space in any business. And I think, women have just learnt to live with this fact and the concept of ‘male domination’ does not affect us anymore. Infact, if nothing else but it plays as a strong motivating factor to make an impact. We did face our challenges in the beginning while raising funds, facing the challenge of this common notion across the industry that women don’t make great entrepreneurs due to juggling too many priorities such as marriage, kids, household chores etc. However, it didn’t really stop us from chasing what we set-out for and eventually ended up finding 44 investors who were more interested in our idea than us being women.