How Gopal’s Project Parivartan evolved into Chill Maadi venture?

Interview with a Student Entrepreneur

Introduction:

Chill Maadi was started under ”Project Parivartan” by Gopal Krishna in August, 2011 as an online magazine. The magazine’s first issue had more than 3500 online readers. Since then, Chill Maadi has not only evolved, but also dazzled Manipal with its statistics- Eight online issues with a combined readership of 10,000, two fest magazines, and two print issues. The website which was launched in December 2011 received 1.5 lakh hits in less than five months.
The basic aim of the start-up was to achieve a national youth network- A forum to read, think, share and express; a network that enables exchange of thoughts and ideas, among the youth. Under Project Parivartan, the services offered are making college magazines, merchandise, websites and other educational and business related solutions.
One of the greatest milestones achieved by the magazine was coming in print. The first print issue came out in May, 2012. More than 1000 copies of the magazine were sold. The estimated reach of the magazine is around 5000 students in nine different colleges in Manipal.
The magazine has had 43 advertisers till date, and has excelled at business relations as well. Besides that, Chill Maadi has also been official media partners with Atharva(the national B-school fest of T.A.Pai Management Institute), Techtatva 2011(the national technical fest of Manipal Institute Of Technology), and Revels 2011(the national cultural fest of Manipal Institute Of Technology).
The magazine has been featured in newspapers, local journals, and websites: Big names include Bangalore Mirror and themanipaljournal.com.
Being a student start-up, finances are limited, which is perhaps a major setback faced by the team. However, the website and blog are being managed by professionals, giving them a cutting edge over other portals of similar nature. Another challenge faced includes setting up of teams in colleges, and getting local permissions and sponsors.
In addition to his start up, Gopal Krishna currently a 3rd year student at Manipal Institute Of Technology, has many more credentials to his name, he has:
-been Featured in Yourstory, Bangalore Mirror, Mangalore Times, Student Story,inc42.com
-given entrepreneurial talks at conferences: Youth Leadership Summit’ by AIESEC and Leaders of Young India.
-been Nominated for Goldnib collegepreneur awards
-rated as ‘star of MIT’ by popular college portal manipalthetalk.net
-been featured in various newspapers for more than 21 times for various reasons.
-been awarded as the “Young Voice Of Bihar” by the Chief Minister of the state for his exceptional ideas for the growth of the state.
Here are excerpts from the interview conducted by Nurture Talent Academy-India’s 1st Training Institute for Entrepreneurs:
NTA:What motivated you to take this initiative-“Chill Maadi”?
Gopal: I have a habit of reading a lot of magazines and staying up to date with what is going on in the world. I realized that there is no magazine as such for college students to read and relate to. I wanted to fill that gap.

NTA:Why the name “Chill Maadi”?
After we decided to take up this initiative, my team and I were brainstorming about possible names. After an unfruitful discussion someone said, ”Just Chill guys, we will think of something catchy soon.” That is when we hit the jackpot and came up with “Chill Maadi”

NTA:What has been your most effective marketing tactic?
Gopal: Our first priority is making sure we publish quality articles. To quote Rob Adams” Build it, they will come.” We were sure that the quality of our articles would attract more readers.
From a purely marketing point of view, inclusion of discount coupons in our magazines from brands such as Café Coffee Day, Dominos, Pizza Corner has been effective.

NTA:How has “Chill Maadi” changed since its first edition?
Gopal: The magazines first issue had more than 3500 online readers. Since then “Chill Maadi” has not only evolved but–the website received 1.5 lakh hits in less than five months. We also had our first print issue in May 2012.

NTA:What is your favourite book/movie of all time?
Gopal:I have watched “The Social Network” eleven times(laughs),but my favourite movie of all time is “The Dark Knight” by Christopher Nolan.

NTA:Which inspiring personality past/present would you like to have dinner with? Why?
Gopal:Its very hard to pick just one person .I would love to interact with Walt Disney, Colonel Sanders(KFC),Christopher Nolan and John Lennon.
They were/ are legends in their respective fields and conversing with them over dinner would be life changing.

NTA: What is your least favourite part about being an entrepreneur?
Gopal:As an entrepreneur ,each and every action is interpreted in different ways by different people.
Many people have come up to me and offered me “gyan” on how to do things. At times I am forced to get into verbal arguments over petty issues.

NTA: How would you describe your leadership style?
Gopal:I am a team player. I have a very good rapport with my colleagues and I am close friends with almost all of them.

NTA:In your opinion, does an entrepreneur need an MBA to be successful? Are you planning to do an MBA in the future?
Gopal: Well, I don’t think an MBA is important for entrepreneurship. It is certainly an add on. I do not plan to do an MBA in near future because my start-ups are certainly going to keep me very busy.

NTA: Finally, Your advice to young entrepreneurs
Gopal: I would ask young entrepreneurs to be passionate and patient. They can afford to make mistakes because age is on their side. If you have an idea, just go for it. And work on it. People may dissuade you and say that something cannot be done, but trust me, if you have the intuitive feeling that your idea will work, it will certainly work.

If you would like to get in touch with Gopal.You can do so at:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chillmaadi
Website: http://chillmaadi.com/
Email Id: gkrishna.mit@gmail.com

-Interviewed by
Harshith Mallya
Campus Ambassador,
Nurture Talent Academy


About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of AHAtaxis.com, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on www.amitgrover.co.in. AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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