“Need for appreciation and recognition is one the many fundamental needs of human beings. People have an inherent need to share what they create and seek appreciation for their creations. Touchtalent addresses the need for appreciation of creative people,” says the proud Founder of Touchtalent, Ankit Prasad, who is yet to graduate from IIT Delhi with an M.Tech.
Just as Google and Quora address the need for information, Facebook addresses the need for entertainment and sharing, LinkedIn for professional connections, Touchtalent addresses the need for appreciation in creative people. In a review of TouchTalent some time back, we found it to be much more than a creative network; it also served as a market place for creative minds. TouchTalent has expanded to 152 different countries and 19 different categories including photography, painting, sketching, poetry, animation, etc. It’s been heavily integrated with other social networks giving users a social reach of more than 10 million people.
As of today today, Touchtalent.com witnesses around 3500 visitors daily with traffic sprouting from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Ireland. The platform has a collection of 50,000 artworks and has been shared 208,000 times by users on other popular social networks.
The initial journey and the team at Touchtalent
But these fancy numbers took a while and the startup had its share of stories like any other startup out there which is trying to create a presence for itself. Ankit had met his would-be Co-founder, Mohd Wassem in 2008 for a technical project where they had shared the idea but perhaps due to lack of resources and expertise, they chose to stack Touchtalent somewhere far. But destiny had some other ideas and on 1st November, 2011 the duo met once more, with a much more convinced mindset and decided to drive Touchtalent to reality.
“We wanted to take Touchtalent to new heights, so we came up with our Facebook page right on the same day and booked our domain too. Within 5 months, we had a fan base of 50K and at the same time we were coding for our private beta. The private beta website was launched on 13th April 2012 and public beta version in July 2012,” shares Ankit.
Today the team has expanded along with the network and consists of people from IIT, NIFT, etc. Apart from Ankit and Wassem, the team has three core members - Rahul Prasad, Darpan Khurana and Vishant Anand. Rahul, who is helping in building and successfully scaling the web application is also the elder brother of Ankit. He also heads the R&D and ensures that all the technological challenges are tackled efficiently. Darpan is a batch mate of Ankit and is handling the analytics and marketing part. Finally, Vishant takes care of the social media initiatives and contributes with his creative ideas. He also happens to be a school friend of Ankit.
Upcoming features and integrating brands on Touchtalent
Armed with a great team, the creative network has incorporated some really essential features such as hiring artists for projects and bidding for work too. Ankit believes these features are required and shared that these have received a positive response from the users of the network.
“Our community consists of hobby artists, aspiring artists and professionals, with majority being hobby artists. We build features which can be useful for our community and can satisfy their needs of appreciation, feedback and monetization. This is the reason we came up with beta versions of creative shop, auction house and hiring.”
The advanced versions of the features that are in beta would be out pretty soon, according to Ankit, but only after incorporating the feedback from the artists of the platform.
On being asked whether he is thinking of partnering with brands, Ankit had a big grin on his face as he added,
“We are partnering with channel partners/brands to have a presence on the website and have two-way interactions with the community. This will generate ample opportunities for our artists as well as enough value for brands.”
This will help increase the stakes for both parties, the creative folks as well as the brands. With the social networking world gradually moving towards interest based networks, Touchtalent does have a bright future.
The platform that targets to touch a user base of 18M by 2015, had a simple one line from the Co-founder when I asked him what advice he wants to share with the aspiring bunch of young entrepreneurs today.
“Follow your heart (please read as data) and keep looking for gaps and opportunities.”