illustrake is a content creation platform which empowers companies to connect with their audiences through captivating and attractive visual contents. It was launched on 6th October 2017. The company was founded by Mihir Gadhvi, Satyansh Tiwari, and Prakhar Shrivastava. We are childhood buddies who had the ambition to go on an unusual path. Mihir looks after the business in its entirety, its development, and the clients while Satyansh handles the core team. Prakhar takes care of creations, designing, and client coordination.
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans: We want to help businesses of all sizes and encourage them to try new things and attract new customers online. We exist for one sole reason – to drive growth and positive outcomes for your business.
Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles
Ans: The core team consists of Janhvi Modi, who also caters to designing. With her expertise in brand identity designing and motion videos, she ensures that our clients are not left sulking.
Saurabh Jadhav is our content strategist, who categorizes the content given to him and attracts the maximum engagement on social media platforms. His expertise lies in storytelling and script-writing, an important source for video engagements.
Tushanth Kundar shows his brilliant skills in motion graphics. His talent churns out splendid UI/UX designs. Akanksha Rathi also looks after business development, besides Mihir Gadhvi. She is active in branding the company while her expertise lies in communicating with the clients and reaching out to more audiences.
Rippal Vyas engages the audiences of our blog with her enthralling words.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: We focus on the designing and marketing aspects for the clients. But before embarking on this journey, our baby steps included running a blog, through which we got out very first designing directive for a feature image. Thus, we began the journey that led us here.
With time and demand, we got work offers through similar referrals. Soon, we also started delivering digital marketing services as per the customers’ needs. To further our cause, we opted to display advertisements on Google. We placed the needs of our customers before anything else that included a strategic marketing approach. Our team delivers amazing ROI, which helps us solve the predicaments of many small and medium enterprises. This the journey of how we went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: Unusual designing strategies and the thirst to get what the client wants is what sets us apart. But to do so successfully, we amalgamate our creative ideas and the vast experiences we gained in search technologies, media industry, design tactics, and brand development. This ensures that we actively help our clients.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: We assumed that there existed a gap between the vision of the customer and the way it was delivered. So, we said to ourselves that our individual skillset, mixed with a good chunk of marketing, could be used to fill this void. What we learned in this process is that every business has its own niche and it is imperative that it is found.
We see our ideal customers in startups, small and medium enterprises. They know exactly what they want. And as a matter of fact, we are working with more than 5 startups on a regular basis. This also includes the repository of over 1500 clients who are satisfied with their results.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
Ans: The most naive mistake is depending on the oral testimony of a client. That was our biggest mistake but it hit us like a truck which made us fierce and opt for clients who would work with us on a contractual basis. I would beseech all the startups to NOT indulge in any kind of oral testimony as you don’t want to learn this the hard way.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: The majority of our clients approach us for the services we provide. We are also working on our very first product dubbed as Presetly that provides premium-looking Adobe Lightroom preset for free.
The model we chose was Premium as the ones who strive hard to provide the client’s every need should be looked after and the former two models won’t support that.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors
Ans: There is no funding of any sorts involved. Illustrake strives on its own, along with the help of our blog 3nions.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it?
Ans: I think all startup stories have an x-factor in them. We would like to believe that ours is an interesting one. So here it goes. We stepped into this world with a domain website that we purchased for ₹99. The next step was blogging that focused on marketing, designing and being a curious cat. I’d like to add that this blog wasn’t a source of income for 2 years. Months went by when we received our first order for a feature image where we charged a measly $5. This was the catalyst that gave us innumerable opportunities.
There were times when giving up seemed like an easy option but soldering through that bad phase was really worth it.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in
Ans: As I mentioned, we received no response in the first two years in the blogging field. But, the $5 order proved to be a miracle for illustrake as that set our company’s foundation under designing. Fast forward to the current year, our turnover is about 13 lakhs+ (illustrake). So, our journey can be encapsulated as the one that began with a $5 order which is worth lakhs today. Speaking about the team, we started with just three founders and now our team consists of 10 people that do their bits every day that is taking our startup to new heights. As we already mentioned, we have served over 1500 clients to date.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: We are currently working on some in-house projects which we think should make a mark on society. These include a portal where free graphical tools will be provided to everyone who can take good advantage of it. Presetly is the other brainchild that focuses on providing free Lightroom presets. Our custom services will surely help small and medium-sized enterprises which will show them a way to their goals.
Q.: Who do you perceive as your competition? How do you differentiate yourself from them?
Ans: A startup’s competitor is every firm out there. The thing that matters to us is the X factor or how do we sell the same idea differently. This difference is what gets us our customers.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: Our goal is no different – we want our brand value to skyrocket and we are already striving for the same. The other thing that we are counting on is serving more customers.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: It will sound clichéd but being patient will take you to your destination. Moreover, there is no substitute for hard work. We effectively apply both of these parameters and are of the opinion that every startup should rigorously follow.
Thanks Mihir. All the best!