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Bharat Gupta

Helping more influencers monetize their work while giving groups + families a new kind of entertainment.

Company: Fangame

Role: Co-founder, CEO

What drew you to this particular problem that Gigs Live is solving?

98% of influencers in India don’t actually make money – only the top 2% are able to monetize their fanbases. But, collectively, these micro- and medium-sized influencers are able to bring virality to any platform. Fangame helps influencers monetize their work while also doing all the customer acquisition for our platform. Plus, fans get to engage with people they admire in a new, entertaining way.

Who do you see as the first target audience for Fangame?

Recently, millions more Indians in rural areas have internet access so they’re looking for more things to do, more entertainment. So, our first influencers from smaller towns and regions engage with local fans.

How did you meet Pritish?

Pritish and I met through mutual friends and have been friends now for ~5-6 years. When we met, we immediately saw our complementary skills and similar drives and knew we would work really well together. We both had experience in the marketing/influencer space and had been jamming on many ideas together for a while before landing on Fangame.

What’s the best piece of user feedback you’ve gotten so far?

Something that’s been surprising but awesome to see is that users also tend to play in groups; entire families will switch off the TV at 8 or 9pm and play games together on our app.

A funny anecdote – fans were actually running out of data from playing the 8-part quizzes. They’d only get through 7 parts. So they asked that we offer just audio, non-hosted quizzes which wouldn’t eat up as much bandwidth. This feedback was useful to develop these specific solutions but also just to make us more aware and mindful of data limitations our users have.

What’s been the most exciting milestone you’ve hit as a team?

In January, we had 10,000 active players in a single game. One quiz had 5,000 people playing concurrently; the host couldn’t even keep up with all the comments that were flooding in. It was amazing.

Is there a specific source of inspiration that keeps you pushing through tougher moments?

We derive inspiration from all the startups that have been massively successful in India. Whichever industry they’re in, we look to people who’ve done excellent work in their field.

We want to be the best in our field, the best consumer product for fans and influencers alike.

What was YC like?

The feeling of getting in was amazing. So, we heard that if you don’t hear from them within the same day as your pitch, you didn’t get in. We didn’t hear anything for hours after ours and were extremely stressed. Then, the next morning we got a call from Stephanie, the Director of Admissions, telling us we got in. She said they had wanted to be mindful of the time difference since we were in India but I thought, “I haven’t slept all night anyway, you could’ve called me at any time.”

We were one of the youngest companies in the program, though. We started Fangame in August and were accepted in October. As first time founders, it was especially useful for us to hear more seasoned founders share mistakes they’d made. Hearing Brian Chesky of Airbnb and Justin Kahn of Twitch share missteps they’d made early in their companies’ trajectories was very helpful.

YC also has a rigor and circle of accountability unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s why people return to YC – the level of intensity pushes you to accomplish so much more than you can outside.

What has been your biggest misstep and what did you learn from that moment?

Early on, we were hyper-focused on growth & “growth hacks” rather than following the YC ethos of building something people really want. But we’ve since made a conscious reorientation around different metrics now, specifically retention. We’re intent upon refining and iterating until we get the product “right.”