Chennai: Nikhil Khedekar doesn’t mind mixing business with pleasure: after all, it can sometimes earn him more than Rs 1 lakh a night.
The 25-year-old went to a Navi Mumbai college in 2003 to become an electronics engineer, but it was what he did on the side—disc jockeying (DJing)— that now earns him his living.
“My parents didn’t know the full form of DJ,” he says. “Besides being lectured at home, I would get a barrage of calls from relatives asking me to stick to my Rs 3.5 lakh-a-year job as a software professional.”
Khedekar didn’t listen. Saving money from a day job he took up with a bank, he bought music mixers and other DJing equipment worth Rs 4 lakh. In 2006, he quit his job to set up DJ Reverb’s Groove, a company that organizes DJs for nightclubs and parties. Khedekar does most of the DJing himself for the company, but taps into a wide network of wannabe DJs on the more hectic nights.
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“Buttoned-up office goers prefer racy numbers or item songs and college kids prefer to hear more English tracks,” he says. “But in both cases, playing an old song gets a better response than playing something absolutely fresh. When people dance they want to sing along. It’s as if they are seeing themselves in the reel.”
Khedekar has now also started creating his own remixes to be aired by radio stations and played at parties. One of his first remixes is Boom Boom, a hit song by the late Pakistani pop singer Nazia Hasan, that he says is going to be aired by a radio station in the UK. He created the remix in his hostel room at the Great Lakes Institute of Management on the outskirts of Chennai, where Khedekar is doing a one-year management course to polish his business skills.
“A lot of students come up with bright ideas, but only a few of them have the gumption of throwing away the opportunity of working with a company to start a business,” says S. Sriram, executive director of Great Lakes. The training at Great Lakes, says Khedekar, will help him expand his business. He wants to start a record label and is looking to invest on a studio and brand that will launch new artistes.
Events will continue to be the main source of income for his company, but remixes and record launches through a new label may help him increase his annual revenue to Rs 40 lakh in 2014 from Rs lakh in 2010. And he may not find it too tough to persuade investors to help his business grow.
“One category that we see a lot of potential through student start-ups is gaming and entertainment,” says Rajesh Srivathsa of Ojas Ventures, a $35 million India-focused early-stage venture fund. “DJing will fall in the same category.”
DJ Reverb’s Groove
Chose the name because it sounded cool
Music and entertainment
PRODUCT COMPANY OR SERVICES OR BOTH
The founder is 25 years old
NUMBER OF FOUNDERS
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
INVESTMENT TO DATE
Rs 4 lakh, mostly self funded and some from family
THE NEXT CLOSEST MILESTONE
Reach a revenue target of Rs 30 lakh by starting a record label and making remixes for Bollywood songs in 2012
DJ Reverb’s Groove was among the finalists of the NEN First Dot Student Startup Showcase