Startup Sunday Season 2 Episode 26 (Qrius)

Qrius earlier started as  ‘The Indian Economist’ back in January of 2013 is a leading digital magazine that focuses on publishing high quality articles and opinion pieces on business & economics, policy, politics, culture, foreign affairs and more.

With a broad range of In House Analysts, Contributors from around the globe, and over 100 content sharing partnerships with organisations from across the world, they aim to present to the reader a unique perspective on the most important issues of the day in various fields. Their Moto is ‘For the curious Mind’ as they developed Qrius into forum where curious minds meet and discuss a diverse range of subject areas that affect business, politics and society in general.

Entrepreneurship Cell got an opportunity to interview Mr Manan Vyas founder of Qrius, and brings to you the story of Qrius this Sunday




ECell: What was the idea behind Qrius?

Manan:  Qrius was inspired by the belief that India could produce world class analysis on subjects that deserved an in-depth view. Qrius is characterised by its off beat topic selection and in-depth view on subjects that other media houses are not covering in as much detail.

ECell: What inspired you to undergo transformation from The Indian Economist to Qrius?

Manan: Primarily, we wanted to let our readers know that we focus on categories beyond economics as well. The Indian Economist restricted us to an Indian audience as well as just economics. We seek to reach out to a broader audience across topic areas. Moreover, Qrius is a more accessible brand name, while The Indian Economist drove away potential readers who thought it was an academic journal.

Ecell: How has your start up journey been so far?

Manan: Slow and steady. Startups are a hard grind. While digital media has portrayed entrepreneurship as a glamorous career path, the truth is that most entrepreneurs feel like quitting 15 days out of 30 in a month. The other 15 days make up for it though. Qrius started on the 1st of January 2013. Abhisek Ghosh (my co-founder) and I worked on it through our days in college. Post college, Abhisek worked at McKinsey with stints in India, Europe and North America. Abhisek is now studying policy at Harvard University. I had stints at the Boston Consulting Group and Groupon India. In November last year, Qrius received an incubation offer from Guild Capital, which enabled me to leave my full time job and start working on Qrius full time. I have been working on Qrius full time for a year now.

Ecell: What were the challenges faced in getting funding, if any?

Manan: Qrius is the in process of closing its seed round of funding. For most startups, the angel round or the seed round is generally the toughest, because there is a lack of trust between potential investors and the startup. Surmounting that challenge is tough because investors regularly go through more than a thousand applicants each year. So the primary challenge in raising venture funding is being able to establish trust with potential investors trust in the team, product and the market.

ECell: What is the Business Model that Qrius follows?

Manan: Qrius publishes native ads for brands. Native ads are articles written by our expert team of writers that help communicate the brand message to readers. Qrius does not host any banner ads that disrupt the user experience. We instead seek to create brand experiences that integrate smoothly within the product we have built.

ECell: What were the major roadblocks in this journey?

Manan: Sustainability is the key challenge for each business. For a business like Qrius, sustainability is about ensuring that your viewership is increasing or remaining constanmonth on month, while also growing the revenue base. Digital media is incredibly competitive, with no barriers to entry, due to which creating loyalty among the reader group is a primary challenge to solve.

ECell: What are the future plans of Qrius?

Manan: After closing the funding round, there will be an intense focus on expanding the team, the reach and the revenue. We are bringing on board a professional editorial team, investing heavily in increasing our social presence and expanding our sales network to grow revenues.

From a reader perspective, we are launching a new app that we hope will transform the reading experience.

ECell: Any advice that you would like to give the students who want to pursue a startup?

Manan: Always have a Plan B. You should definitely pursue a startup, but make sure that you have a solid plan in case the startup does not work out. By most estimates, more than 9 out o10 startups are likely to fail. Be prepared for that eventuality. Ensure that you have a great degree or two that will give you a stable job. Live to fight another day. Do not drop out of college to pursue startups (to be fair, not a lot of Indians do that to begin with). But keep in mind that India is a competitive market in terms of jobs, so try to have a great backup plan in place. It will give you the required peace and mental stability to pursue your startup without worrying too much.


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