We are publishing an interview of Meenaz Amreliwala,
Co-founder and Managing Director of Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd.
About the founders:
Meenaz Amreliwala: Entrepreneur, Graphic Designer, Film Producer, Writer. Co-founder and Managing Director of Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd. Founder of Upshot Media Partners, India.
Meenaz is a highly competent film producer and project manager who has successfully executed large-scale productions for film companies.
She has a degree in Biotechnology and a diploma in Journalism. Her professional experience includes feature film production at Bombay Berlin Film Productions, content creation and writing assignments for Free Press Journal, The Times Group and Sanctuary Asia among others.
Her core strengths lie in effective management and negotiation.
Rohan Sabharwal: Entrepreneur, Graphic and Web Designer, UX/UI specialist, Film Director. Co-Founder and Lead Designer of Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd. Co-founder of Upshot Media Partners, India. Rohan is an entrepreneur and award-winning media professional who has pioneered online content formats in India. He has executed high-profile projects for conglomerates like Yahoo! India, Unilever and Microsoft Kinect and is one of the earliest to create moving and video adverts appearing in Yahoo! L-Recs receiving 5 times the average CTC. He is a well-known mental health advocate and an award-winning filmmaker, graduating from the prestigious London Film School.
Give us a brief background of what founders were doing before starting the venture.
Meenaz Amreliwala worked as a contractual film producer. Rohan Sabharwal was a freelance graphic designer, web-designer, filmmaker and event organiser.
List all the names of the core team members, along with their skill-sets, specific domain expertise & designated roles. How do you see them evolving over time?
Meenaz Amreliwala, Co-founder and Managing Director Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd – Meenaz handles day to day operations, partnerships, finances and balance sheets, legal and administrative duties.
Rohan Sabharwal, Co-founder, Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd, Lead Designer Flipsyde App – Rohan is the brain behind Flipsyde. He has designed the entire application, UX/UI workflows. He heads design and social media at Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd.
Huzefa Bharmal, Project Coordinator, Flipsyde Mobile Pvt. Ltd – Huzefa handles venue signups, both domestic and international
Hernan Rohak, Development Head, Flipsyde App – Hernan is an Argentinian Mobile Tech developer. He leads the development team for InfinixSoft Global LLC who are partners with Flipsyde in the US and South America.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
There is no unified platform for all event and nightlife requirements.
Venues need a better way to increase event attendance and reach the right audiences. Artistes need to connect with the right venues and festivals, find relevant fans and followers and post their content on a platform that’s encouraging, social and secure. Users need to know what’s happening around them in the moment, organise their nightlife and event attendance and most importantly be rewarded for attending events, going out and spending their hard-earned money.
Problems in the current scenario:
- Facebook: Facebook users are blasted with information on a day-to-day basis. The disengagement on Facebook is at the highest it’s ever been. We have proved this on several occasions where paid campaigns are now barely reaching 15 people, leave alone reaching the relevant audiences. And our team comprises of social media veterans who understand targeted advertising better than most.
- Google: Google is the best directory and crawler of information in the world. But Google also lacks the heart and personal touch of a social experience. Incorrect information is sometimes a major issues. Owners forget to update information, many times results on Google are irrelevant and the worst part is that venues and bars listed on Google often shut down but continue to appear in search results.
- Ticket Apps: Ticketing apps list events that are selling tickets via their platform only. So get ready to download a ton of these depending on which country you live in.
- Music Apps: Music apps are limited to streaming music.
- Nightlife/event listing platforms: Merely listing but not social in nature or user editable.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
Understanding current platforms and their drawbacks was central to Flipsyde’s process even before development commenced. We spent almost 5 years understanding the nightlife and event scene the world over before actually developing the app. We understood why those before us weren’t successful in unifying nightlife services and designing a smooth and user friendly application. Our biggest challenge then was our workflows on paper (which took us years) and our biggest challenge right now is to actually get venues and artists on board. By the end of 2019 we want at least 100,000 venues worldwide on our platform, we currently have a thousand+ across 13 cites worldwide.
How did you get the initial capital? What returns does it have? Tell us about the investors (if any)
Flipsyde’s preseed investment of 45 Lac INR, which comprises of self-funded amounts and interest free loans from family.
Please tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Flipsyde is a social discovery platform (Android and iOS) that helps people find bars, pubs, performance venues, artists, music instructors and instrument vendors on a map. One can follow artists and venues, find out in real time what’s happening at these spots, book tickets, pay bills, get a list of offers and a lot more.
At the very core if it, Flipsyde functions like a social network. This means we are agnostic to every sector, genre, venue, vendor and artist. It’s an equal platform to discover, rate, review, list, promote, listen, share, purchase and a whole lot more. Venues, artists and vendors will have their own backend access to update
their pages, music and events.
Flipsyde has beautiful, familiar and easy-to-use interface with no learning curve for users. Think of any social network one is used to and Flipsyde is just that in terms of usability, look and feel. Compose anything and it will appear on the app instantaneously!
Our backend for venues and artists almost feels like one is updating a blog! Simply fill in the relevant fields, upload pictures, add addresses and other contact details, add menus and a lot more!
What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
At the outset we knew that this was a necessary platform. Our learnings with the way media and social media works led us to believe that artists and venues required an free and independent platform for promotions devoid of all the clutter on existing social media. We understood that despite the umpteen listings and promotions, audiences could be better targeted. There are over 10 different kinds of mobile applications minimum that one would require to download to do the job that one app like Flipsyde can do. We have always been on target with our assumptions. However, our methodology and revenue models have evolved over time. We were also on point when we decided to target the world as a whole and not geo-lock the app, making Flipsyde an application that can be used on all mobile phones in all countries. Our partnership with companies in the US and Argentina have broadened our reach in these countries. Our initial designs were more Android-friendly, it being a more widely used platform, but we learned that many of our target audiences use iOS devices and so now we have sought assistance from Apple to redesign our interface to make our app more accessible and user friendly on their platforms.
What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
We are qualified designers and have been working in the online space for a decade now. We have organised successful events and our founders have an in depth understanding of the music industry, genres, technical requirements in music as well and musical events. We have also spent decades socialising and understanding nightlife in several parts of the world. Some of our core members are mobile tech experts and others are musicians too. Our biggest strength however lies in our contacts and associations with venues and musicians over the last two decades, including sourcing and producing music, launching films, artists and albums for film and understanding distribution models.
What many don’t understand is that all aspects of music and nightlife are always connected, so listening and downloading music are connected to nightlife, are connected to artists, are connected ticket sales and purchase, are connected to music lessons, are connected to event management, are connected to buying and selling of equipment and other music services and that one should not have to visit several platforms for all of these. The key is a social network that unifies all of these, which is what Flipsyde is.
What is the strength of the startup and the scale of operations? Who do You Perceive as Your Competition?
We currently have a team of 4 working in India, a team of 4 working in Argentina and several liaisons in countries across Europe, Asia and North America. Our current task is populating the app before any hard launch. Our competition includes Facebook, Google, Zomato Nightlife, Several ticketing and Music platforms.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it?
Freemium. Charging artists, venues for extra services like push notifications, ability to share and host more media on their pages and most importantly providing nightlife insights to venues and companies in the field so that they can tailor their events and offers. Our basic profiles are free for all and the end-user (who discovers nightlife and offers) never pays for anything.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Venues – Will now be able to target audiences based on nightlife and spending habits as well as age, interest in music and gender.
Artists – Will be able to upload albums, get tagged in events, share music with specifically targetted audiences, pay small amounts to promote new songs and albums.
Bazaar: Our bazaar sections helps music-services providers find clients. This includes music schools and teachers, people looking to buy or sell equipment etc.
End-users – Will be able to discover nightlife and events around them on a map. Know exactly what is happening at these spots, who is playing, what kind of music, what are the offers and prices. They will be able to buy tickets too.
Music-related media – Our newsfeed function will allow music news platforms to share articles with an audience specifically based on music habits and tastes.
How did you get your first customer?
We emailed them.
What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
It will lead to something bigger the day we have accurate and real-time info on every single nightclub, music fest, artist and music/nightlife consumer in the world on our app.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
We are currently pre-revenue / Populating the app with a sizeable number of venues, artists and service providers before we launch for the end user.
What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? 50,000 venues across the world in every major city and with every major artist and DJ and their music.
What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
The biggest hindrance to any start-up’s success is they founder/s own lifestyle. Save every penny, focus on accounts, know your own balance sheets by heart, plan to give yourself enough time, don’t rush to part with stake because you’re desperate for money.