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Dec 23, 2022
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Fandom Communities and Creators: Building an Interactive Future

-Abhishek Mehta, Co-founder, Quriverse

Team 100X.VC interviewed the Founders' of their Portfolio Companies about their Start-up journey; from idea, execution to overcoming challenges. Here, Abhishek Mehta,

Co-founder, Quriverse

shares his responses.

 

Q1. How did the idea of the Quriverse come up?

The idea of quriverse came during our college days when we got our first-time experience with what fandom is. From Anime and Marvel to sports, fandom was the topic of discussion everywhere. To stay updated on our football club, we built a modified version of the RSS reader, which could bring you all the updates on your favorite football club from the web. This tool grew as more students wanted to use it for their use case. The response intrigued us, and we went a bit deeper into this. We realized how the fan experience needed to be fixed, and existing solutions need to do more. People use multiple tools for different use cases, and how a more tailored solution is needed is how the initial idea of quriverse came into the picture.

 

Q2. What made you start working on and executing this idea?

There was always a spirit of building something, like Inmobi, Urbancompany, sharechat, and Indiamart coming from our campus. Just seeing the response on the campus we thought of building online communities, starting up with quora. Seeing that community is growing fast gave us a lot of belief that this can be something plus. Plus, trends were also in our direction as many community platforms built around the niche were coming up then and doing well.

 

Q3. When did you realize the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

In 2021 we launched a basic web app that would provide curated content on keywords and let you comment on that. We got a few users from there, but our communities needed to be more engaging. We had the distribution going for us, but we needed to work on interactive features from a product end. Focus on things like live streaming, creator tools, and more. So around August 2021, we decided to raise the venture capital but with the mindset that we also wanted someone who could provide us with the right mentorship.

 

Q4. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

The impact of 100X has been immense in our journey from the day we had our 1st conversation to the present day. In the initial days, especially for the 1st time founder, there are many things you got to learn, from finance to fundraising to storytelling and more, to run your business. 100x precisely delivers industry-level masterclasses and also one-to-one mentoring sessions. The offline masterclasses organized at the Mumbai office can be described as a startup MBA. The learning curve in those two weeks was surreal and at a swift pace, and 1-to-1 interaction with the 100x team helped us a lot in all areas of building a good business. Even post the pitch day, the whole 100x is a very approachable, helpful, and true mentor.

 

Q5. Has your startup pivoted? If so, What has the pivot been?

Our vision is to build the future of fandom communities and creators. But when we started building, we realized how every fandom is unique, and we need to prioritize and focus on one rather than all. The Anime community has been gaining momentum in India and abroad for a long time. An old forum on anime garners more than 30M+ visits, and India is seeing one of the highest growth in Anime watchers. All this led us to build the quriverse for the Anime fans and creators out there!

 

Q6. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

Challenges are something that you come across daily when building a startup. We faced quite a few challenges during the fund-raising, in technology, and in hiring. Speaking with the right people and doing what we feel is right is our go-to way of overcoming challenges. Speaking with mentors like 100x and speaking with other alumni founders is the best way to go about it

 

Q7. What stage is your startup at present?

We're in a pre-revenue stage and running quriverse, the web app, on an invite-only basis with around 1k creators and fans. Our community size in total is 10k+ plus, with a strong WAU of ~30%. Our current focus is on nailing the engagement for a small cohort before we focus on scaling and monetization.

 

Q8. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

Our goal for the next 1 - 2 years is to nail all 3 key components in social space, engagement, scaling, and monetization. We want to take quriverse to a stage where we're the biggest name in the entire animation industry. Venturing into digital marketplace, content distribution, licensing and more. Also, unlocking revenue stream for thousands of creators in this space and lead quriverse towards a path to profitability.

 

Q9. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

The dream of building something big and meaningful that impacts a million people is the core of why you do a startup. The startup journey is challenging, especially in the starting phase, and this dream is influential in pulling you day in and day out. Reading all the stories about successful founders who have been there and done it also acts as a trigger. Plus, our community is something I would like to mention the way we get support from the members. Their belief is something that adds to the grind.

 

Q10. Your message for Startup founders building in the Social Media sector?

Firstly social media space is getting pretty exciting as more and more people become digital creators, and a new generation is yet to explore the internet. Any social media startup needs to narrow its focus to a niche group of users with similar behavior. Rather than considering just the growth in terms of no users, the initial focus should be on engagement. The book cold start problem by Andrew Chen explains that properly. Keep looking for engagement and not on the perfect way to launch and go viral. Also, if any social media founder is reading this, feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

 

About Abhishek Mehta:

Abhishek is currently a co-founder at Quriverse. He is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur with experience in design and community. He has been active in the Anime ecosystem for around a year, has scaled communities to 200k+ members, and has built one of the largest creator communities in the space.


 

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