Nimish Goel is the CEO and Co-Founder of TrueFan. He aspires to build a platform that helps every Indian fan fulfill their lifelong dream of interacting with their favourite superstars.
Founded in January 2020, what TrueFan celebrates is the heart of fandom in its purest form. Being a dedicated fan himself, Nimish’s inspiration behind the platform stems from his personal experience of gate-crashing a wedding to meet his dream idol, Virat Kohli.
This almost-surreal encounter instantly put Nimish in the shoes of millions of Indian fans who’d do so much more for just a glimpse of their beloved celebrities. It is this sentiment that lies at the core of the platform’s philosophy and purpose.
Nimish is an IIT-Kharagpur alumnus. Before starting TrueFan, he was working with Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Nimish says:
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
India is a huge market for us. We intend on building a user base in the country for now. Our platform is still very new to the audience. Hence our focus lies on familiarizing users with it and invests in building a holistic celebrity- fan engagement application.
Thinking about how do we give a smile to fans across the country.
Read on to know more about Nimish Goel and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background and what motivated you to get started with your company?
Nimish Goel: I was born and bought up in Jaipur, graduated from IIT Kharagpur, and further worked with Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm, before starting TrueFan. Being a fan myself, I gatecrashed a wedding just for a chance to meet my dream idol, Virat Kohli. This became one of my most memorable moments, and it also put me in the shoes of millions of fans in India that who’d do so much more just for a single chance to interact with their favorite celebrities. This is where TrueFan came into the picture. With TrueFan, we aspire to build a platform that helps every Indian fan fulfill their lifelong dream of interacting with their favorite superstars.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Nimish Goel: TrueFan is a celebrity fan engagement platform that aspires to connect fans to their favorite celebrities in the most personal and meaningful ways.
Nevaid Aggarwal, Devender Bindal, and I founded this platform in January 2020.
TrueFan has since roped in some of the biggest Bollywood celebrities, namely Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, and Ranveer Singh, to create memorable celebrity-fan interactive experiences.
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Nimish Goel: Our startup has raised $4.3M in an initial seed funding round from prominent investors Ronnie Screwvala, Mayfield India, and Saama Capital.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fundraising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far, and how did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Nimish Goel: We set out to raise capital when we had a conviction on our product and what we were building. We approached many early-stage investors and then raised our first round from them.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fundraising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Nimish Goel: Our proposition to the investors was a fairly new concept that had a strong value approach. The celebrity market space in India is still nascent and has seen a lot of growth in the past year. Our elaborate research of the market and the idea behind the platform gained trust from the investors and helped us raise funds.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Nimish Goel: Our funding round has recently closed. Hence the focus lies on building up an active user base for the platform and expanding our celebrity portfolio by partnering with A-listers from all walks of life (Music, Sports, and more )
How have you attracted users, and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
Nimish Goel: We have built our product from a user-centric perspective. India has millions of fans who do crazy things to get one glimpse of their celebrities. We are just enabling a simplified version of that online where fans can compete in a quiz and win a chance to interact with their favorite celebrities. We believe that celebrity-fan relationships are very emotional by nature, and hence, we do not want to attach any transactional value to these. We want to try and keep away from a price based transaction and instead celebrate the feeling of being a TrueFan.
In addition, we are the only platform in the country that caters exclusively to A-list celebrities. For our interactions, the uses aren’t restricted to making only birthday or anniversary wish requests from the celebrities. They are free to ask for any personalized requests that they’d like.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup, and why?
Nimish Goel: Facebook and Google ads are the most popular and have given us optimum results.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Nimish Goel: Too early for us to comment.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Nimish Goel: India is a huge market for us. We intend on building a user base in the country for now. Our platform is still very new to the audience. Hence our focus lies on familiarizing users with it and invests in building a holistic celebrity- fan engagement application.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Nimish Goel: Too early to comment.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Nimish Goel: Since our startup, TrueFan, is a tech-based application, we did not face a lot of issues. On the contrary, our business has seen momentum during the pandemic; we closed on our investment in August and launched our application in September. The response towards our platform has been phenomenal since. The restrictions posed by the pandemic has increased the demand for influential celebrity- fan engagement platforms like ours.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Nimish Goel: Not building a strong team and giving up too early.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And what advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Nimish Goel: The harder you work, the luckier you get.
What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
- Harry Potter – Made me believe in Magic
- Many Hindi movies for love, empathy, and belief
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
Nimish Goel: Thinking about how do we give a smile to fans across the country
What are the top three life lessons that you want your (future) sons and daughters to know?
Nimish Goel: Too early to comment.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Nimish Goel: A nice human being.
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