The HotStart : Agency Profile

TheHotStart is a crowdfunding platform that aims to help raise funds for the most creative and innovative projects in India. TheHotStart has been conceptualised to help creators and funders get one step closer to realizing their dream projects. While helping raise funds is one thing, TheHotStart also acts as a preliminary validation point for a concept. Another benefit is the word-of-mouth marketing that it attracts. Barely a few months since its inception, TheHotStart has already helped fund some great one-of-a-kind projects like Kalyaanam – a 10 minute short film that got selected in the London Indian Film Festival, gives you a glimpse into the life of a would-be-bride, Rhythm of Love – the first crowdfunded jukebox musical in India and Taan Bekro, a documentary based on the struggles of Rajasthan’s ‘Sapera’ tribe.

What made you start TheHotStart
It almost happened by chance. In June 2012, our cofounder was with a couple of his friends at a pub in Manhattan, New York. The friends were discussing how it was difficult for Indian projects to succeed on US-based platform. The big challenge was the geographic divide between the funders and the location where the project was going to be executed. And, therefore, potential contributors struggled to see value in projects. That really was the origin. There appeared to be a genuine market need to connect people with people who had the funds to power their ideas. Over the next six months, the idea of creating a high quality crowdfunding ecosystem for creative and innovative projects in India started to take shape.

Tell us something about Crowdfunding and your business model?
Crowdfunding, in its most fundamental form, is a process through which a person, who may need money for the purpose of any conceivable activity, reaches out to individuals like you and me to raise those funds. Come to think of it, crowdfunding, in its ethical sense has been prevalent in Indian society at the sub-conscious level for generations. It is human nature to resort to the financial, emotional and physical support of loved ones in times of need. While this practice has never been given a formal direction, purpose or a concrete name, in terms of defining it with proper reasoning, it’s always been there. TheHotStart simply harnesses the power of human sensibilities towards a “project” or task at hand and helps it find people who can support it physically or financially via an extremely intuitive online portal.

Success stories
We are fairly selective about the projects that we accept. When we started off in December 2013, we used to receive one new project request every 10-15 days. Out of close to 50 submissions we have received so far, you will notice that the platform only has about 8 projects on it. And that is a deliberate attempt on our part to support the most exciting projects.
The DIY DAY or the Do It Yourself Day was a day-long festival, working towards promoting and celebrating the independent art movement in Delhi. It was a collaboration between Ghar ka Records and Epic Shit Entertainment, and the platform of TheHotStart helped it raise its target of Rs.63,000 in well under 3 weeks. Interestingly, DIY DAY II just started their crowdfunding campaign with us.
Another success is Kalyaanam – a 10 minute short film giving you a glimpse into the life of a would- be-bride. Created by Aamir Tameem, an actor, Kalyaanam is a monologue that explores the predicaments and reservations of a woman who is on the verge of beginning a new life. This satirical comment on the institution of marriage had a beautiful and thought-provoking pitch video which gave an apt glimpse into the message to be conveyed by its creator. And the final product has already got rave reviews, getting selected for the London Indian Film Festival.
Taan Bekro, a documentary created by Saumya Sharma, is based on the struggles of Rajasthan’s ‘Sapera’ tribe. With its crisp portrayal of the fluidity and adaptability of the Sapera tribe, it is directed towards enabling the Government to understand and pay heed to these people. The efforts are quite praiseworthy since the crowdfunding success shows that people are willing to contribute for a social project as well.
Team
We are very focused on operational efficiency. We have a front end team that is lead by our cofounder, Rajat Das. This team is responsible for relationship management, business development and all forms of engagement. Then there is a technology team that is constantly working to keep the website up, running and in good shape. Apart from this, we have an advisory group that comprises an experienced group of business professionals who review the platform’s progress and also play a key role in strategy formulation.
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Additional resources
Know everything about why TheHotStart was created in 62 seconds:

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FAQs about how TheHotStart works: www.thehotstart.com/faq/
We also have a nice twitter account developing. You can check it out here: www.twitter.com/TheHotStart

Check out some pitch videos created by project creators on the platform:

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http://www.thehotstart.com/campaigns/flint-generation-2/
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