‘’Having a clear vision is crucial. Define your goals and objectives clearly, and stay focused on them throughout your journey. Be courageous in pursuing your dreams and ambitions. Don’t shy away from taking calculated risks that align with your vision and are worth the potential rewards.’’— Sanjana Bhatia
Sanjana Bhatia, co-founder of CineVire, has recently shared her inspiring entrepreneurial journey in an interview with Business Upside. CineVire is a pioneering platform revolutionizing video editing and animation standards in India. Motivated by a profound passion for visual storytelling and armed with over seven years of industry experience, she transformed her vision into reality. From recognizing the untapped potential to set new benchmarks for creativity and innovation, CineVire’s inception was driven by a dual purpose. With a multi-faceted approach and unwavering commitment to excellence, Sanjana and her team have built a resilient foundation for CineVire’s success.
Here is the excerpt from the interview:
Business Upside [BU]: What motivated you to co-found CineVire, and how did you make your vision a reality?
Sanjana Bhatia [SB]: I am thrilled to share the incredible journey that led to the co-founding of CineVire, a groundbreaking platform dedicated to elevating video editing and animation standards in India. With a profound passion for visual storytelling and over seven years of industry experience, I was determined to usher in a new era of creativity and excellence in this dynamic field.
The inception of CineVire was fuelled by a dual purpose: to raise the bar for video editing and animation quality in our region while setting a benchmark for unmatched creativity and innovation. Drawing from my extensive industry knowledge, I noticed the untapped potential for improvement and innovation, laying the foundation for CineVire’s vision.
To bring this vision to life, we adopted a multi-faceted approach. Above all, we invested significantly in state-of-the-art video editing and animation software, hardware, and equipment, empowering our team with the best tools available. This allowed our skilled professionals to infuse their creativity and expertise into crafting captivating visual stories and seamless animations.
However, beyond the technical aspects, the true driving force behind CineVire’s success has been the team’s unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional results. We nurtured a culture of collaboration and creativity, encouraging our professionals to think outside the box and embrace bold ideas. This approach enriched the final output and instilled a sense of pride and ownership in each project we undertook.
[BU]: Can you describe the history of CineVire’s progress?
[SB]: As one of the co-founders of CineVire, it brings me immense joy to share our remarkable journey with you.
When we first embarked on this adventure, it wasn’t without its challenges. After concluding our previous startup with two other partners, starting from scratch was challenging. However, my fellow co-founder, Amanpreet, and I were determined to make CineVire a reality, driven by our passion for transforming the entertainment technology landscape.
In the beginning, it was just the two of us working tirelessly on all the projects that came our way. Armed with only two laptops, we dove headfirst into creating cutting-edge visual and immersive technologies. The early days were tough, but our determination and belief in our vision kept us going.
With each step forward, we gathered momentum and expanded our team to include incredibly talented individuals who shared our passion. In just one year, our team grew to 12 members, and within two years, we were a thriving group of 20 dedicated professionals.
The initial stages tested our mettle, but we always maintained the quality of our work. Our commitment to excellence paid off, and we soon found ourselves working with over 200 clients, completing 350+ projects. Witnessing the impact of our technology on the entertainment experience fuelled our drive even more.
The first year was hard work and steady growth. Our profits were modest, but the sleepless nights and unwavering efforts were worth it. We maintained pace, attracting 20-30 new clients per month, including collaborations with some of the industry’s biggest brands. It was a turning point that set the stage for exponential growth.
In the following months, our revenue soared, growing fivefold every three months. It was an exhilarating time for us as we saw our dreams come to fruition. As we approach our second anniversary, I can’t help but feel immense pride in what we have achieved as a team.
Looking ahead, our vision for CineVire remains as ambitious as ever. By the end of this year, we plan to expand our team to 30 members, harnessing the talent of passionate professionals who share our commitment to innovation.
Additionally, we are thrilled about the launch of our sister startup, CineVire Film School, which has already provided invaluable industry knowledge to numerous aspiring students in just six months. Our goal is to create a lasting impact in the education and entertainment sectors, and we aim to open another branch in Amritsar, with further expansions in other northern regions on the horizon.
The trust and support of our clients have been pivotal in our growth. We have had the privilege of serving clients from across the globe, with a strong presence in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Establishing our outsourcing team in these countries has allowed us to better cater to the needs of our international clientele.
As a co-founder of CineVire, I could not be prouder of what we have achieved together. Our journey has been filled with challenges, but the passion, dedication, and hard work of our incredible team have fuelled our success.
[BU]: What obstacles did you encounter when running your firm, and how did you overcome them?
[SB]: I understand the challenges we faced when running our firm. Here’s how we overcame some of these obstacles:
Managing Clients and Projects: Initially, it was overwhelming to handle projects while simultaneously managing client relationships. To overcome this, we implemented a structured project management system. We divided responsibilities among team members, ensuring everyone knew their roles and tasks. We also set clear communication channels to inform clients about project progress and updates. Additionally, we introduced tools for time tracking and task management to streamline our workflow and improve efficiency.
Hiring the Right Team Members: Building a dream team that shares our passion and commitment was daunting. We learned from initial experiences that more than simply relying on portfolios and interviews ware needed. To address this, we revamped our hiring process. We now emphasize practical tests, case studies, and even trial projects to assess candidates’ skills and suitability for our company culture. This approach has helped us identify individuals who align with our vision and values.
Dealing with Employee Turnover: Losing trained team members to bigger names was disheartening, but we recognized that it is a natural part of professional growth. Instead of discouraging our team members, we now support their personal development and career advancement. We provide opportunities for skill building and advancement within our firm, making it an attractive option for those seeking to grow professionally. Moreover, we focus on fostering a positive work environment and a strong sense of belonging, which encourages team members to stay loyal to CineVire.
Finding Clients with Busy Schedules: Attracting clients with busy schedules was initially challenging. To address this, we diversified our marketing efforts. We leveraged social media, online advertising, and networking events to increase our visibility. We also improved our online presence, including a professional website and a portfolio displaying our best work. By doing so, we gained credibility and attracted clients despite their hectic schedules.
Navigating Through Financial Challenges: Like any startup, we focused on maintaining a lean and efficient operation. We prioritized projects that brought steady revenue. We explored strategic partnerships and collaborations to expand our reach and tap into new markets.
Overall, perseverance, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from our mistakes have been crucial in overcoming these obstacles. Each challenge has provided us with valuable lessons and helped us grow stronger as a company. By continuously improving our processes, honing our hiring strategies, and nurturing positive work culture, we have built a resilient foundation for CineVire’s success.
[BU]: How do you maintain your creative force at CineVire?
[SB]: At CineVire, nurturing our creative force is paramount, and we implement key strategies to sustain it. Continuous learning opportunities, including workshops and training programs, empower our team members to develop their skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends. We balance creativity and business, prioritizing quality over quantity and ensuring creative projects receive the time and resources they need to flourish. Freedom and autonomy are essential as we grant our team members the space to express ideas and take ownership of projects, fostering responsibility and innovation. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to prevent burnout and encourage fresh thinking. Collaboration and team building are encouraged to spark new ideas, while our inspiring workspace stimulates imagination and creativity. We celebrate and reward innovation to motivate our team members to continue pushing boundaries. Constructive feedback aids in refining ideas and nurturing growth, enabling us to deliver high quality and inspiring content to our audience through the dedication of our talented team.
[BU]: How did you, as a co-founder, create a powerful and harmonious team at CineVire?
[SB]: As a co-founder of CineVire, my primary goal was to create a powerful and harmonious team to drive the company’s success. I firmly believed in a people-first approach, emphasizing the importance of a shared vision and cultural fit. I meticulously defined a compelling vision for the company, ensuring every team member understood and resonated with our mission and values. When hiring new talent, I prioritized individuals who not only possessed the necessary skills but also showcased a genuine passion for our work and a strong alignment with our core values.
To foster a harmonious work environment, I led by example, demonstrating dedication, humility, and a willingness to learn from successes and failures. Open communication was at the heart of our team dynamics, encouraging everyone to express their ideas and concerns freely. I believed in empowering team members by giving them autonomy and ownership over their projects, which nurtured their growth and promoted a sense of accountability and commitment to the company’s success.
Additionally, I recognized the importance of continuous growth and invested in our team’s professional development through various training opportunities, workshops, and industry conferences. Work-life balance was also a priority, and I supported flexible working arrangements to ensure the well-being of our team members. By fostering a culture of recognition, we celebrated individual and team achievements, motivating everyone to give their best. Furthermore, I proactively addressed conflicts with a constructive and solution-oriented approach, ensuring everyone felt heard and valued. Through team-building activities and social events, I encouraged camaraderie, building strong connections among team members beyond the workplace.
As a result of these efforts, we successfully created a powerful and harmonious team that thrived on collaboration, passion, and collective success, propelling CineVire to new heights.
[BU]: What guidance would you provide budding entrepreneurs looking for funding?
[SB]: As a co-founder of CineVire, my advice to budding entrepreneurs seeking funding is to start by self-funding and focusing on profitability. Pour your blood and sweat into the business, and within a year, you might not even need external funding.
However, if growth is hampered due to financial constraints, feel free to explore funding options. Educate yourself on different funding sources, be prepared, and seek investors who share your vision. Always stay committed to your company’s mission, and if you decide to take funding, read the terms carefully and have a clear plan for utilizing the funds to drive growth while mitigating risks. Remember, funding can be a valuable tool, but building a strong and sustainable business remains the ultimate goal.
[BU]: How do you craft harmonious relationships with your clients and partners?
[SB]: At Cinevire, we believe in cultivating harmonious relationships with our clients and partners by treating them like family and going above and beyond to meet their needs. With a remarkable 60% retention rate, we strive to provide our services and valuable assistance and insights to ensure their success. Building strong, lasting connections is at the heart of our approach, fostering mutual trust and collaboration.
[BU]: What have been the most fulfilling moments of milestones in your journey as an entrepreneur?
[SB]: As entrepreneurs, the most fulfilling moments in our journey were when Netflix reached out to us for exciting projects. It was a testament to our hard work and creativity, and we were overjoyed by the opportunity to collaborate with such a prominent platform. Additionally, collaborating with Wonderman Thompson, a top marketing company, was a game-changer, offering us invaluable insights and opening doors to new possibilities.
Lastly, witnessing our team grow to 10 members was an emotional milestone, a testament to our collective efforts and determination. These moments have driven our passion to reach even greater heights, and we cherish the memories of these milestones in our entrepreneurial journey.
[BU]: What worthwhile lessons have you gathered up along the way, and how have they influenced your choices?
[SB]: The most worthwhile lessons that have influenced our choices as entrepreneurs are to take risks and make tough decisions, be patient and compete with ourselves, and maintain unwavering self-belief. Embracing challenges and stepping out of our comfort zone has led to significant growth, while patience has taught us to persevere during difficult times. Instead of focusing on external competition, we continuously strive to improve and set higher standards for ourselves. Our unwavering self-belief has given us the confidence to pursue ambitious goals and overcome obstacles. These lessons serve as guiding principles on our entrepreneurial journey, empowering us to make informed decisions and foster resilience and optimism.
[BU]: What guidance would you offer to young, aspirational entrepreneurs hoping to have a beneficial impact in their fields?
[SB]: To all the young aspirational entrepreneurs out there, I offer the following guidance based on my experiences. First and foremost, practice patience. Building a successful venture takes time and dedication, so don’t be disheartened by slow progress. Cultivate unwavering self-belief in your abilities and your vision for your venture. Trusting yourself is essential, especially when facing challenges or uncertainties.
Having a clear vision is crucial. Define your goals and objectives clearly, and stay focused throughout your journey. Be courageous in pursuing your dreams and ambitions. Don’t shy away from taking calculated risks that align with your vision and are worth the potential rewards. Remember, entrepreneurship inherently involves risks, but the right ones can lead to significant positive impacts in your chosen field.
In summary, be patient, believe in yourself and your vision, stay courageous, and take calculated risks that align with your goals. These guiding principles will help you navigate the entrepreneurial path and have a beneficial impact in your chosen field as a young and aspiring entrepreneur.
Sanjana Bhatia – https://www.linkedin.com/in/bhatiasanjana/