We are publishing an interview of Mr. Ian Fernandes, CEO, Urban Shaman.
Please tell us about the founders
Founder are Ian Fernandes – CEO, Janvion Rodrigues – Director – Sales & Marketing of Urban Shaman.
I started learning and performing magic over 10 years ago. Due to the lack of opportunity in India I joined the cruise line and began working on board as a full time magician. Around 2 years ago I was came back to home in Mumbai for vacation. Me & My friend Janvion (who is now also my business partner) were discussing the beauty of magic and the lack of opportunity in India for professional magicians. We knew that if the audience could experience magic just once we would have an audience member for life. That is when we decided that if there was no opportunity out there, then we would have to just venture out there ourselves and create the opportunity. And that is how Urban Shaman came into existence.
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?
Our mission is to create regular work for magicians in India so that they can focus on their art. We also strive to bring professionalism, quality and innovation to the magic community in India.
We work closely with all our magicians so that each artist has their own unique act that suits their style. This requires originality, innovation and lots of hard work.
We also work with amateur magicians and magic enthusiasts/hobbyists in order to help them develop their skills so that they may one day become professional magicians themselves.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
While our primary focus has been magic, we also work with other unusual and innovative performance arts. These are art forms that have been neglected and are sometimes considered down market by the masses and the elite. We work with these artists to increase the quality of their product and then when the quality is satisfactory to us we help them package and market their product.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Each artist knows his values and sets the fee accordingly. We represent these artists and market them and guide them in order to generate work opportunities. Each artist sets their fee based on their quality of magic, years of experience, etc.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Anyone who is looking for entertainment will love magic. Magic performances are completely interactive and engaging. It is great family entertainment and can be enjoyed by all audiences alike. Be it a street kid or a company CEO, the awe and wonder that one experiences when witnessing magic is the same for everyone. It transcends all barriers like language, age, etc. Even the differently abled can enjoy magic. We are yet to meet someone who has seen our magic first hand and not fallen in love with it.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
Eventually we would like to do some thing similar in other countries. Magicians world over are looking for more opportunity. We also intend on doing more regular work with some of the best international magicians from around the world and bringing them to India.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Our biggest challenge was changing the audience’s perspective of magic. When most people in India think of magic, all that comes to mind are the birthday party magicians that are more demonstrating props that performing magic. We had to work very hard to show our audience that the kind of magic that we perform is similar in quality to the kind that you would see being performed by David Blaine, Penn & Teller, Criss Andel, Dynamo, etc.
We have now created a bank of video content that showcases this. However, the best way to demonstrate our international level quality is to just meet them face to face and directly show them some magic.
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
Our new initiate is called Monthly Magic and it brings magic right to everyone’s doorstep. Each month we shall have one of our top India artists travelling to another city to perform 3 – 5 shows. In June, Manas Tayal from Delhi performed in Mumbai and in July, we have Abhishek Majithia from Bengaluru performing in Mumbai. Each month we shall add another city so in July we shall add Pune, in August we shall add Bengaluru, and so on.
Thanks Ian. Best of luck!