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Past life

Vinod G. Nair, 47, took over as CEO and managing director at Clea PR agency when he was 26; he later bought it. He has since managed events and directed telefilms (including Inspector Khatri for Zee TV) and ad films.

His two full-time partners are old friend Rakesh Sreekumar, 42, a digital marketing and start-up expert based in San Francisco, US, and Ravindra Nagpurkar, 34, an engineer with an MBA from Duke University, US. Before he met them, Nagpurkar had wanted to set up a similar enterprise.

Start-up expert Beerud Sheth, 45, CEO and founder of online creative portal Elance and CEO and co-founder of online creative portal SmsGupShup, is the project mentor who brought the three partners together.

Eureka moment

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Their initial idea was to have a talent version of YouTube (in the same way as LinkedIn is a professional version of Facebook). At the time, Nair couldn’t take time off from his other commitments, and let it lie.


On 4 April, Talentube was finally launched. It promises to act as a platform to which you can send in samples of your work—music, dance, acting, writing, editing, camerawork, etc.—that get posted on the website (entries serve as registration-cum-auditions) and YouTube. So, in essence, independent producers outside of Talentube also get a chance to see talent.

In January 2010, when funding finally came through, the first stage of operations took off in the form of a nine-month market research study across 24 cities in the country. Talentube tied up with research syndicates to understand the kind of need there was for such a project, and how best it could be undertaken.

The applicants have to register for a fee of 1,000 and then send in their work sample, which is screened by a panel of experts.

Also, once registered, you can participate in auditions for a commercial film to be produced by Talentube: The judges include film-makers such as Mahesh Manjrekar, Sangeeth Sivan and Sudhir Mishra. The first lot of auditions for a film to be directed by Manjrekar will start by 15 June and they will continue for three-six months, depending on the response they get. Participants will vie for 70 opportunities in the world of film, including acting, music and dancing.

For winners, Talentube will also serve as a talent agency, giving advice through experts and helping youngsters monetize their potential.

Reality check

Although the initial idea was to tap “fresh" talent, in the course of their research they discovered that there was plenty of undiscovered, yet not-so-fresh talent which also deserved opportunities. “There is incredible talent that has been struggling for years to get a break, and now we have opened up the scope of the portal to those, in addition to fresh talent," explains Nair, adding that this is just one of the insights they have gained on what will be a minimum three-year learning curve (“and this is being optimistic").

Plan B

“Plan B is a secret, but I can share Plan C," says Nair. “Back to finishing my books and screenplay!"

Secret sauce

Unlike existing talent shows that typically determine only one winner, each Talentube project offers many opportunities for aspiring talent. Also, it has committed funding of $12 million (around 66 crore). “This makes us the largest ever angel-funded start-up in India," claims Nair.

This story was first published on 2 June 2012. It has been republished due to a technical issue.

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