A platform and its content are dependent on one another for their survival. The makers of Youtube would remain with a barren platform if video-creators never stepped up and made content. Or, as Pratik Poddar of Nexus Venture put it: “Content helps you understand the power of the platform.”
Mr Poddar is an entrepreneur turned VC who is a principal at Nexus Venture Partners. They are a venture fund that focuses on early-stage and product-first startups. Poddar himself loves working with tech entrepreneurs. His focus lies in consumer satisfaction, community building, content, e-com networks, and healthcare.
Pratik recently took the time to chat with us on Pepper Content’s weekly podcast, Pepper Spotlight. His experience working with various brands and starting many ventures makes him a powerhouse of knowledge and insights.
His approach to content, as we learn from the conversation, is fascinating for all creators.
Understanding a VC’s Point Of View
That first round of funding might be one of the most critical turning points in an entrepreneur’s life. While we have all heard struggle stories from the point of video of the founder, what does the VC consider before they put their faith into a company?
“Firstly, Not every entrepreneur should go after VCs,” said Poddar. Founders and companies must understand that all businesses do not require VC-funding. He states his own example of being from a family of traders. Traders never chase funding and still manage to build a great brand, and people love the work they do.
Getting back to the crux of the matter — we can fragment these analytics into three essential limbs. The first factor is the founder. “Everything in a company can change; a founder will not change,” said Poddar. The passion of the founder is what makes a business and drives the company forward. Fifty per cent of the company’s future solely rests on the founder’s ideas.
The next thirty per cent comes from studying the market size. The product or service must have a substantial market size to become viable. As the fund size increases, the market should also become relatively large.
Lastly, the third factor is the approach of the business. “Do the founders look at things differently? Does the VC have an alignment with the ideas? What is the strategy towards growth? — these are the questions we need to address,” said Poddar. It is essential for a VC to understand the working model of the company right at the start.
All of this sounds like a calculated call. However, Pavan (the host of Pepper Spotlight) questions Poddar about the importance of luck. “Not just with VC and funding; luck is always important,” Pratik believes that we are all doing what we do in an attempt to enhance our luck.
Platforms and Content
The rise of content platforms such as Clubhouse, TikTok, and the likes has made content creation a very extensive avenue. As more platforms come into play, some trends cannot go unnoticed.
Suppose we rewind the clock a few years and consider the boom of television. Back then, advertisers would just add static posters into ad spaces. These posters existed from the time of the newspaper, and the development of new content types (that is, video ads) was yet to start.
This analogy highlights the slow adaptation of content to rising platforms. When a new tool is available, it takes a few genuine creators to discover the new content formats. “Over time, people understand the power of the platform and make the most from it,” said Poddar.
Let’s consider a more recent example. Over the last five years, we have seen blogs and videos become participatory. With comment sections, live videos, etc., the tools have provided a way for the audience to interact with content in real-time.
“What Clubhouse did was make the audio medium participatory,” explains Poddar. And the cost of producing live content is much cheaper. It takes a few exceptional creators and powerful content to really bring out the best in a platform.
What does the future hold? Maybe AR-content. Augmented reality is a reasonably new content space. As more creators warm up to the idea of using AR, the faster the platforms will also grow.
Monetization of Content
We all create content for the love of it, but the process sounds rather demotivating without an incentive. So what are the ways of monetizing these creations?
As someone who has seen the content market grow the last eight years, Poddar divides these revenues into two limbs.
Firstly, there is the advertising income. For example, Youtube pays the creators a small revenue by running ads. This model becomes functional if the platform has a robust following and user base. When the platform can assure many impressions, the ad revenue would also be significant.
The second is the subscription model. This approach is more creator or brand-centric. Consider the example of ‘Substack,’ an email newsletter platform that has made it easier for writers to make money. The model depends on the number of followers each creator can draw for themself.
In a nutshell; If a platform has a vast reach, then you can choose between ads or subscribers. But if you are a small company, you have to make your income from subscriptions only.
However, we cannot assume this is as easy as it sounds. As Poddar puts it: “The only way to make money, is by being the best at your niche.” The market remains flooded with creators, which means no amount of strategy is a replacement for hard work and persistence.
The 3 Qualities Of A Successful Entrepreneur
Being a VC for a large portion of his career, we had to know from Pratik Poddar what makes a good entrepreneur. And here is what you should know:
- Perseverance is at the top of the list. Building brands, companies, or startups take time. Each decade faces a new crisis, and the founder should know how to steer through these times.
- Secondly, an entrepreneur should know what their super-power is. What are the qualities that set the founder apart? What are some skills that the founder can perform better than anyone else? A founder who can address these questions amplifies the thought they put into the business.
- Lastly, Poddar believes it’s crucial to build an “unsexy” startup. The less glamorous and underrated you are, the lesser people try to copy or get ahead of you. This practice also opens up the mind to making the right products and addressing the needs of the customer.
This episode of Pepper Spotlight is an amalgamation of anecdotes, facts, and incredible insight. The conversation adds value to both creators and brand-builders alike. Poddar himself started his professional journey building and shutting many companies of his own.
“Maybe I gave up early, but I knew why I had to drop off!” said Poddar. Check out this entire episode to realize how liberating it is to give up some ideas to chase a better one and much more.
Check out the full episode here