guch.me is the re-branded entity of Denture Capital, founded by Manu Srikumar. After successfully running Denture Capital for over three years Manu and his team are off to a much exciting trajectory. guch is an acronym for ‘giving you a creative high!’. Though the name sounds a bit international, its derived from a Sanskrit word, gachchami, which means ‘I go’. The international flavor of the name will definitely help the team once they plan to reach far corners of the World.
As always I am thankful to Manu for sparing his precious time, to answer my questions. So, without further adieu let’s quickly jump on to the questions below and understand the what, why, hows of guch.me!
1) What were the key reasons for moving from agency business model to product oriented business model?
We never wanted to be an agency business long term although we felt a little comfortable doing it in 2019 and thought this was a good long term opportunity for us. We quickly realised that it was not suited for our team.
The last 3 years have been a long series of experiments about what’s the large opportunity. We tried our hand at many different types of businesses; be it content for OTT, an event called Mad Over Videos and some high quality production work. But all these were not large business opportunities and also did not align with the skill sets of the team. About 6 months back, the larger team that we had built by now zeroed in on building a product that would make creating high quality videos easy for large businesses. At speed, scale and internationally. We spent months fine tuning the model, tried our hand at a few more experiments and decided to go full throttle on this.
2) Were you inspired by the concept of marketplace or did you come across a similar proven concept elsewhere in the World when you thought of guch.me?
Online marketplaces have been in existence for a long time now starting with Craigslist in the 90s. There was eBay, Uber & a lot of other marketplace models subsequently. There have been successful marketplace models in the Creative industry as well. What we are building is a Managed Marketplace with guch taking 100% accountability of the delivery of projects.
3) Will guch.me be perceived as a different company by your existing clients? How did you manage to streamline a smooth transition?
We definitely want clients to perceive us differently. Earlier, clients would only give one or two projects at a time as they’d assume there will be a capacity issue. But now, we can take on any number of projects at a time. We have been communicating with our clients on this transition and how they can use guch effectively to their benefit.
4) What are the three key differentiators of guch.me amidst a crowded video creation industry?
Cost efficiency, quicker delivery and higher quality.
We are in the custom High quality video business. Our avg. ticket sizes are $2000 & higher. Our goal is to provide the best value for every buck for the types of video content that fall in these categories. Also, the most promising intangible USP is the ‘Peace of mind’ our clients will now have as we will manage the project end to end.
5) What challenges did you anticipate in this shift from agency model to product model?
More than anything, the mindset shift of people. Getting employees on board, customers on board is hard. Also, product thinking is very different from services thinking. You have to start thinking for scale. It has been very challenging, but we have managed to get everyone on board. The entire Leadership has been communicating with everyone on the opportunity and we now feel confident about this.
We have also managed to save a lot of time by productizing experiences & it has really added more efficiency to the way we work.
6) Who do you think will benefit more from this marketplace kind of model? – Clients or Creative manpower.
Both. While benefits to clients have already been outlined in the previous few questions, guch pros (video professionals on the marketplace) stand to benefit the most as we promise them a steady income stream and the ability to do what they like best. They don’t have to worry about Sales or Project Management, we take care of that. They can focus on Creative 100% of the time.
7) How did your current employees cope up with this change from denture capital to guch.me?
This was the hardest part. We went from being a 37 member team to a 25 member team. We have only retained people who are bullish on the product opportunity. Professionals who wanted to work in the agency line of business have quit. They still are part of the guch pro network.
It has taken many months of communication to tell people about guch. The three most important things required for starting are clarity, belief and execution. And we are trying to give as much clarity as possible to make people believe in the vision. And belief will make it easy for execution.
8) Are you on look-out of investors for guch.me? Will it be easier to get funding for a product oriented business model?
We did a few meetings with investors before the COVID-19 crisis. While its easier to raise capital on a product oriented business, the category we are in is tricky. A lot of similar businesses like ours has raised capital before, but this is not really a hot category and very few investors have a thesis on this. We are open to talking and figuring out. At the same time, we are a revenue generating entity profitable for the last couple of years. Additional capital would certainly have fast tracked our growth, but we will still build what we want even otherwise.
9) How are you planning to market guch.me across the World?
We are going to aggregate demand, so a good inbound marketing strategy should be a really good way to start. Content marketing, performance advertising, etc. can be done for the world sitting in India and we’d strive to create, distribute and advertise from here for the world.
Also, we plan to do Mad Over Videos, our event property online this year and it means a global event at scale.
10) What challenges do you expect in acceptance of guch across the World?
India has produced some really good products in the last few years, so a company headquartered in India today & selling to the world has acceptance. We are still a long way from understanding real challenges as we start, but we are bullish on the opportunity & are not thinking anything less than serving the world. Go-To-Market is definitely going to be really challenging & we will try to find ways that will work best for us and then create playbooks. The core value that guch stands for is “Creative Excellence” and we will have to really work hard to get better at it when we go global. In a nutshell, its going to be challenging but we are up to the task.
Wishing good luck to team guch.me
I have been a strong follower of Manu’s projects over all these years and I am sure his new venture will too do wonders. Wishing him and team good luck for the exciting journey ahead.
In case you are a brand manager or a marketing head from any part of the World, reading this blopgost and have a video project on hand, don’t think twice, but just visit guch.me!