Gaurav Dhobal and his mates Naman Arora, Rahul Tyagi, Aditya Thakur and Ujjwal Singh Grover were at a live event listening to a very young college band. The band was performing an original composition, and the friends were amazed by how good the band was. The music rocked, and the crowd obviously loved them. That set them wondering – how many such good musicians remained undiscovered?
With that in mind, they conducted some research and found that while there was plenty of musical talent around, there wasn’t a proper platform to showcase them. So they made a business plan and, lo and behold, proceeded to win Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s Eureka International Business Plan competition in 2006. Tempostand was born – to give that platform for budding, talented musicians.
Its target audience is mainly producers of fresh, new creative content and people interested in such content. “(But we hope to be) more than just a distribution platform for their work, we (also) want to be an agent for their economic empowerment,” says 25 year-old Gaurav, who graduated from Dhirubhai Institute of Information and Communication Technology in 2007 along with Naman, Ujjwal and Aditya. Rahul, also 25, is an Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee graduate. “We have a revenue sharing model with the artists and our efforts are to open up new revenue streams for them.”
Engineering A Musical Platform
They may all be engineering graduates, but at least one member of the team knows music – Aditya, 23, is himself a musician and has been part of a rock band for five years. 24 year-old Ujjwal is, however, the techhead in the team, while Rahul and Gaurav handles marketing and finance. Naman, 24, looks after public relations.
Tempostand was started when they were in the final year of their graduation, so their college dorm in the Indian city of Ahmedabad was their office by default. Later they shifted to Gurgaon in Delhi simply because, Gaurav says, “it has a more vibrant music scene and houses major corporates”.
Tempostand is totally bootstrapped and do not have any funding to date. Its current business model relies on two revenue sources – advertising and services. “Our online events, a kind of an online version of a reality show, are a big draw for sponsors and forms a chunk of our advertising revenues. We also create targeted events for companies,” Gaurav reveals. “Then there are some new services like Musical Expressions, which allows anyone to get very personalized musical products as gifts or for different occasions.”
Today, Tempostand‘s greatest achievement is that its name has become synonymous with independent music in India. Its growth has been organic, attracting over 500 artists to work with them and more are added each week. “It’s not just about capturing (an audience),” says Gaurav, “at Tempostand an artist is recognized by his work and is not just another profile.”
And The Award Goes To…
Along the way, Tempostand has also won recognition and garnered various awards for their effort in supporting the burgeoning music scene in India. It was one of the finalists at the British Council’s Young Music Entrepreneur Award in India, as well as a finalist at I2i, the startup challenge held by Indian Institute of Management, Culcutta.
But the team doesn’t intend to stop there. “We are planning to foray into other creative fields for example we recently launched our poets portal TempoPoets. This is in line with our bigger vision to become the ‘Republic of Creativity’ where Tempostand serves as a launch pad for new creative talent. Some new tools for music distribution are also planned for the coming year.”
“I love working on new ideas and so in a way starting something of my own was always on the cards. ‘Doing’ as opposed to just ‘thinking’ is what I believe defines entrepreneurship,” Gaurav shares. “There is no perfect idea to start with; you make it perfect by working on it.”
“And of course the most important thing is you should enjoy whatever you are doing.”