Other than being the largest democracy, India is also known as a young country. With the student population as big as the USA, and almost 1.5 times the student population of china, Indian students are influencers & consumers of tomorrow.
Every college nowadays has fests such as sports, technology, entrepreneurship, cultural & social, which gets 1000s of traction. However, for brands scaling the campaign, utilizing this opportunity to the full extent & measuring proper return on their investment is difficult. Colleges also find it challenging to get appropriate sponsorship, speakers & mentors.
This Bengaluru based startup “R2MI Ventures” is working to solve this problem by bridging the gap between colleges and the world. Keshav, an IIT Bombay graduate & one of the cofounders told us, “We are currently helping over 600 colleges in India. Our partners include giants like Byte Dance, Coca-Cola, HERE Technologies & startups like CredR, Azah and many more.”
Founders Of ventures.r2mi Mr. Keshav Arora & Harsh Jain
Q- How does your model work?
We have a strong relationship, backed by legal agreements with colleges which gives us the leverage of using their spaces & facility to conduct particular kind of activity & engagement. At the same time, we help them back to get various benefits.
So, for any company or brand in any given any week, we can conduct activity & drive engagements online or offline on a massive scale.
Q – How it all started?
During my college days, we use to discuss a lot about education, entertainment, enterprise, and events. That is how the idea of E4 (now R2MI Ventures) came in. There was no single platform which connects them all. In my hostel room, i.e. our first office, we started working & building the model. Later we also won a few competitions like LWT-IST, international business trips which strengthened our idea.
We used to take up small projects from Mumbai-based startups and do activations for them in the colleges. A few months into this, we realized that it has a national level potential, and a festival happening inside the college is not necessary to run a campaign added Keshav in a nostalgia trip.
Q- Why did you decide to shift it to Bangalore?
Apart from the lovely weather here, we got connected with Route to Market Media India (R2MI)- Bangalore based media company. Their firm belief in making India’s first multi-tasking brand matched our ambition of creating this network. So, we shifted our HQ to Bengaluru & registered ourself as R2MI Ventures.
Q- Tell us more about the milestones you achieved?
Within a year, R2MI Ventures has become India’s first & largest student marketing firm with 600+ colleges as assets, and over 20 corporates as clients.
We have designed & executed all types of campaigns – ranging from branding & speaker sessions, product & store launches, workshops, digital campaigns, creating taskforce or crowdsourcing, sampling, market research as well as targeted sales campaigns. We have provided total sponsorships worth in crores to colleges.
Each of our clients loves to work with us, take our advice while targeting students & keep giving us more projects to execute.
Keshav Arora, further added that they were approached by Kunal Bahl, founder of Snapdeal for synergies & by another company for expansion opportunities in Indonesia.
Q- Any specific thing you are doing to help in this pandemic situation?
To ensure the students do not miss out on the learning due to the lockdown & CoVid situation, we have helped around ten colleges to conduct classes online. We are collaborating & training teachers free of cost for the technological shift.
Q- How was your experience of hiring the first set of employees?
It is true what they say – a significant chunk of an entrepreneur’s time to go into hiring new employees and making the existing ones perform better. From day one, we have firmly believed in creating a culture that attracts the top talent. Initially, our firing rate was higher than the hiring rate since we required the kind of people who have lived current college culture as well as have relevant experience of the profile.
As of now, we have built great cultural & religious diversity in our office. We celebrate festivals of all religions with equal enthusiasm & happiness. Last year, we had an office celebration for Christmas as well, though there were no Christians in the team. Each one of us has a zeal to grow & do something big. We are always looking to hire such kind of people.
We have also received appreciation from the Uttarakhand government for uplifting the culture of colleges & training interns under us.
Q- What is the Unique Selling Prospectus of R2MI Ventures?
The USP would be our unique team of directors & mentors. Mahaveer Jain is an experienced client servicing person, Abhishek Singh (Ex- Country Sales Head, Philips) known for his unique approach, practical insights & giant network. Acting as the legal backbone is RN Bishnoi, an independent CA with more than 20 years of experience in Finance and Accounts.
They enable me & Harsh, who come with the experience in managing relationships with college students to complement our skill sets & keep our vision alive.
Another important factor is our keen ability to dive into one element or take care of a full end to end nationwide campaigns.
Q. How is your experience working with clients like Byte Dance, especially since the pandemic? Landing a client like ByteDance, which is the world’s highest-valued startup after just one year of being in business might be a dream come true for most of the entrepreneurs. For us, it is an opportunity to prove our vision.
We are also working on an initiative through which we can promote entrepreneurship culture in colleges and universities. The outbreak of Covid-19 has undoubtedly impacted the Indian consumers & we are trying to help everyone in every way possible.