The co-founder and CEO of comic-book publisher Level 10 Studios, Shreyas Srinivas is the winner of Bloomberg-UTV's programme 'The Pitch'. Here, the engineer-turned-MBA-turned-marketing honcho-turned entrepreneur talks about what prompted him to enter the competition, what he learned from his interactions with leading icons, his plans for the R5-crore winnings, and his views on the comic genre. Excerpts from an interview to Bloomberg-UTV.
What was the motivation for a young entrepreneur like you in entering The Pitch?
It was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our product. For start-ups that have limited advertising and marketing budgets, it was a great way to market our work as well as build credibility. And the Rs5 crore investment opportunity wasn't bad at all.
How has this show helped your entrepreneurial skills?
The way leaders think is often different. And this is evident only when you get to spend quality time with them. This competition helped us get time with not just one, but ten icons from all spheres of industry.
How will you invest the money you have won?
Building a digital presence as well as trying to penetrate television will be the focus for 2011-12. We'll also be strengthening our magazine.
Competition is reality, whether on a TV show or in business… How have you dealt with competition?
Competition forces companies to innovate. As creative entrepreneurs, we dream of a day when the Indian geek dresses up as his/her favorite character and socialises with fellow fans at a convention hall, eagerly awaiting an audience with their favorite writers and artists. We believe the next spate of pop culture and global franchises would originate in India, and are working to position Level 10 Comics to spearhead this revolution.
Indian comics fall short compared to comic books abroad.
Many entrepreneurial ideas perish because they don't get executed well...
As a culture, we're very risk-averse. I believe that bulk of the ideas fail because entrepreneurs stop persisting – largely due to societal and family pressures.
From the age of 6, we are told life is a struggle and salvation lies in pursuing the golden Indian middle-class dream – a stable career, a car and a home.
Most entrepreneurs will agree that persistence trumps talent when it comes to start-ups. It is important that we as a society start to embrace risk as a part of our lifestyle and entrepreneurship becomes a more involving experience rather than being closeted between pockets of angel investors.