The Mumbai-based startup offers a unique platform that allows fans from across the world to book personalised greetings and shout-outs from celebrities, through its website and app
Vinamra Pandiya, co-founder, GoNuts
GONUTS is a fast-growing platform for human connection and communication; it provides what it calls “a trusted pipeline between celebrities and their fans via authentic and personalised experiences.” Founded by serial entrepreneur Vinamra Pandiya, media and entertainment veteran Joji George and Mayank Gupta, this Mumbai-based startup offers a unique platform that allows fans from across the world to book personalised greetings and shout-outs from celebrities, through its website and app. The personally curated videos make every celebration even more special while giving the recipient fond memories for a lifetime.
Pandiya explains the idea behind their venture. “Mayank Gupta and I attended a friend’s kid’s birthday party and a discussion centered around what would happen if popular cartoon characters wished the child personally. This germ of an idea took shape and form in terms of a larger than life vision and possibility, when we met Joji George, who has a track record across all facets of media, entertainment, licensing and live events. Once all of us met, sparks flew, and the company was born in January 2020.
“We Indians are fan crazy,” says Pandiya. Indian celebrities, that is, cricket and Bollywood celebrities, have always had a massive fan base. “The proliferation of TV shows, OTT shows, sports club leagues, social media has led to an exponential growth of micro celebrities and their localised but massive fan-bases in India. Considering the intensity and passion of fans in India, they are willing to spend/do things for curated and personalised star experiences due to severely constrained access to reach their favourite stars,” he says.
The uniqueness of the platform is its ability to connect both the Indian and global Indian diaspora to talent or celebrities across genres that are multi- lingual and also at multi-segmented price points, he explains. “We truly curate our talent that are both aspirational and inspirational. This has made GoNuts not only the most influential platform in its category but also premium in its positioning.” The startup claims to have best talent from music, food/lifestyle, TV, movies, comedy, fitness, and sports which include Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, Hans Raj Hans, Sukhbir, Ranveer Brar, Sumeet Varma and many more across categories.
“We are a classic case of a company that seized opportunity in times of adversity,” says Pandiya. “Since we started business right in the middle of the Covid crisis, we have grown 15X in the last six months (March-August 2020), which will only increase exponentially as we see higher traffic and engagement. We have carved our own niche and were profitable, inspite of being bootstrapped. We have sold over 700 videos and our GMV will be over $1 million in the current FY,” he says. “Our aim is $10 million annual GMV in the upcoming financial year. We aspire to be the most capital efficient company in our category.”
GoNuts in the last six months has seen healthy growth in terms of revenue, addition of exclusive artists to the platform and ARPU. It has raised `3.5 crore in seed funding led by marquee investors Sweta Rau and Archana Priyadarshini. 9Unicorns, AngelList, Lets Venture, Pankaj Chaddah (co-founder, Mindhouse and Zomato), Ramakant Sharma (co-founder, LivSpace), IIM Indore Alumni Fund, Harshal Morde, (Morde Foods) and other marquee angels and founders also participated in this round.
“We aim to reach a milestone of $10 million revenue by the end of 2021. We want to get to 5000 of the most influential and inspirational celebrities by the next financial year and be the unicorn out of India in this category to the rest of the world,” says Pandiya.