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Shark Tank India 2 has been making headlines since its debut, with each episode featuring an inspiring story.
In the most recent episode of ‘Shark Tank India,’ audience meet to an impressive Haryana entrepreneur trio who once built the massive company Wittyfeed worth Rs. 300 crores. WittyFeed, based in Indore, was founded in 2014 by Vinay Singhal, Parveen Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav.
WittyFeed created videos and viral content, with the majority of its traffic coming from the social media platform Facebook. In four years, the company grew at an exponential rate, reaching an annual revenue of Rs 40 crore and a monthly traffic of 12 crore viewers. The company had offices all over the country and the world, including Times Square.
The co-founders awoke one day to discover that they had been de-platformed by Facebook in November 2018. This was due to the Cambridge Analytics incident, in which the British political consultancy business was accused of buying millions of records from Facebook of American individuals in order to create a tool that impacted American voters. “Of the 12-crore traffic, 6 crore views came from America, demonstrating that we had a large number of American voters on our platform,” Vinay Singhal stated on Shark Tank.
WittyFeed, the second most popular viral content site behind Buzzfeed, shuttered and vanished after Facebook banned it from its platform in 2018.
On Shark Tank India 2 Vinay Singhal stated that they will continue to pay their employees’ salaries till February 2019. When there was no more cash, they held a town hall meeting with the 90 employees. “We offered them that we would give them 25% of their income and quadruple the remainder as shares in the firm,” he said. 54 of the 90 employees agreed to join the company. Some even contributed their savings worth Rs 1 lakh or more to the company.
Vinay Singhal was depressed and returned to his hometown after losing a business worth Rs 40 crore overnight. As a result, he was able to establish an OTT platform that is really local and targets audiences that speak the language.
Vinay Singhal said “As an entrepreneur we didn’t want to believe that this was the climax of our story.” After 6 months they launch their new company, STAGE, on November 1, 2019. STAGE introduces Haryanvi and Rajasthani content. Since 2019, they’ve signed over 1,000 local artists and produced over 300 hours of content for their 1.3 lakh paid subscribers.
According to Vinay Singhal STAGE is a “bolion ka Netflix”.
STAGE raised Rs 3 crore in debt and equity on Shark Tank India at a valuation of Rs 250 crore from Peyush Bansal, Aman Gupta, and Namita Thapar.
He told The Better India, “We found that there is no cinema or web series focused on local dialects. Despite the fact that a huge portion of the population speaks it. Around 70 million people in Rajasthan speak Rajasthani, also known as Marwari. Similarly, people in Bihar speak Bhojpuri, Maithli, Angika, and Bajjika. In Uttar Pradesh, Awadhi, Braj, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, and so on and so on”.
“Haryanvi is divided into 11 dialects. And there are around 700-800 dialects spoken throughout the nation. There is a proverb that goes, kos-kos par badley paani, chaar kos par vaani. However, because they are not written down, these dialects go unnoticed “He added.