Chennai: As a 19-year-old, Shiv Bhaskar Dravid was not happy with the content that most newspapers, magazines and TV shows had on offer.
He thought no one was presenting news from the perspective of the youth. So, he went ahead and created a media portal for them.
Focused: Shiv Bhaskar Dravid, founder and chief executive officer of The Viewspaper.
Now 22, Dravid is the founder and chief executive of The Viewspaper (www.theviewspaper.net), which he founded in August last. The six-month-old portal has 115 correspondents from nine Indian cities.
In December, the portal had 100,000 hits.
At the core of The Viewspaper’s existence is the belief that the voice of the youth should be heard and should make a difference.
Thus, on Friday, two days after Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on 30 January, The Viewspaper’s site had stories such as “The Death of Gandhi...?” by Aayushi Oberoi from Chennai and “Hey Ram” by Anupriya Prakash from Delhi. Multiple views, from various parts of the country, will make the site a success, Dravid feels.
“It sounds like an interesting concept, a different one. But, how they (The Viewspaper team) would scale it up remains to be seen,” says Ravi Narayan, managing director of Bangalore-based Mentor Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund and incubator.
Dravid claims his offering is based on a survey he conducted among school and college-students. He says almost every young person he met thought something like The Viewspaper was a good idea. “Strangely, only the elderly people criticized my idea,” he adds.
Dravid handles the funding of The Viewspaper himself— much of the money ( Dravid wouldn’t comment on any numbers) comes from Katalist, a process and strategy consulting firm Dravid runs.
Though Dravid is open to external funding, he says he will be able to sustain the portal on his own till the end of this year. The Viewspaper plans to generate revenues through ads on the basis of number of page views and hits. It has attracted two advertisers thus far.
The Viewspaper has six editors who are responsible for screening and editing articles, and around 115 writers, including one each in the US, London and Sydney. Dravid intends to have at least 2,000 correspondents from most major towns and cities by the end of this year.
As of now, The Viewspaper reimburses only the correspondents’ travel expenses; it eventually plans to start paying for the stories.
All the correspondents are volunteers and Dravid says they have been selected on the basis of word of mouth.