Aseem Gupta (Pilani, ’11) is the founder of qoohoo, the platform for creators who are on the outlook for monetizing their community. Previously, he had worked at Razorpay and Stayzilla in different roles. Below, he talks about his life as an entrepreneur and being selected for the Y-Combinator cohort 2023.
Our problem statement is very simple - social media is great for acquiring an audience, but to monetize them effectively, creators have to fight the infamous algorithms - it is ad first, has limited monetization tools, and charges ~30% commission with no audience ownership.
Creators have diverse processes, and solving for them means understanding them deeply to build the right product. We launched our beta version in June 2021 with early creators and launched publicly in January 2022. So far, the journey has been great, our creators love our platform, its design, and our creator-success relationship. And we have just started to solve their deeper challenges like growth and retention.
qoohoo was born
In 2020, Vimal had just sold his education-based startup to Unacademy and was researching his next problem statement. During COVID, his brother, who is a musician, faced a crisis when they had to shut down their five teaching centers in Delhi. That’s when he moved his classes online and started building an audience on YouTube. This transition was not easy, and that’s when Vimal talked to many creators and realized that they have the same problem. Even though the creators started moving online, 90% of their daily processes were manual.
Their payments, enrolling members, renewals, daily community chat, meetings, etc., were glued with the manual efforts of a creator. But creators are supposed to focus on quality content and engaging their users rather than operational work. To validate the problem statement, Vimal talked to some creators – including Tanmay Bhat, who is also an investor in qoohoo.
That is when Vimal and I crossed paths. I come from early engineering team at Razorpay and was tinkering around with different product ideas at that time. With the knowledge of fintech and consumer tech, it was a perfect complementary fit for both to start qoohoo.
Team and right people
It is often said that a great team can make any idea successful.
Building a startup has no predefined recipe. It is so much fun but takes a lot of grit and commitment. The first rule of thumb is one must be willing to learn whatever is needed. For instance, some folks in our team are doing 2-3 functions - design, product, tech, research, growth, and creator success.
Every idea doesn’t need a team of super-experienced people, just a bunch of people who are willing to work hard. The team is like playing a sport in a small startup like ours. If you are agile, transparent with each other, and positively pushing in your approach, then that’s the right culture. It will steer you to solve challenges and build a great thing sooner or later.
Impact of Y-Combinator
YC is the top startup accelerator in the world. It opens up access to the network of many successful people in the ecosystem. Being backed by YC means the founders have an opportunity to build a company fundamentally. And of course, it gives them the access to many free credits for many services, some of which they would be using to build tech products.
Destination > Success
We want to make qoohoo a go-to platform for anyone who wants to launch a knowledge-based business. It would be a wonderful feeling to see when millions of creators use qoohoo to monetize their content and share it with their audience across social media.
Success to me is more than just a destination. It's about finding joy in the journey, trying things without fear of failure, trusting your instincts, and discovering that you are more capable than you thought. When you look back, that fulfilling feeling is what I would call success.
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