En Route Media
Paul Schwarz is a member of:
Paul Schwarz's Advice
Spend more on human capital
Invest in good people right from the start. Be ready to spend more on human capital than you originally anticipated. You can bootstrap anywhere, bu... more>>
We started up En Route Media in 2009 with the aim to establish a company driven by advancements in technology to push the existing boundaries of the way media is consumed, delivered and managed in India. After a lot of research and development we introduced our first product early last year, Flo, India’s first network of interactive in-taxi screens. Flo is a solution thatfills two major gaps that we found in the in-transit entertainment industry and the Out of Home advertising industry. It provides a platform through which passengers can indulge in TV-quality entertainment on the move, while advertisers can reach this niche radio cab audience in a captive environment. Flo has five channels namely, Entertainment, Travel and People, Fashion and Lifestyle, Cars and Sports, and Movie Trailers. We partner with a multitude of channels to source high quality content for passengers. We intersperse advertisements into the content loop very delicately, in the form of 30 second TVC’s, side banners, slide-in banners, quizzes and interactive pages.
While creating Flo, we struggled a bit with customizing the solution to the Indian environment. With India’s, and specifically Mumbai’s climatic and road conditions we had to make sure our system was robust, one that could endure a whole lot of humidity and potholes. At the end of it all, we’d like to think we succeeded because we now have a patent-pending hardware.Being the first one’s to introduce India to digital in-taxi media; it was a big challenge to swim against the deeply ingrained ad conventions prevalent in the market, such as exorbitant ad spends on traditional media. As a completely new ad medium with limited scale at the time, we had to work very hard to prove the effectiveness of the medium.Generally, we learnt quickly that an idea means nothing without execution. Since our model heavily relies on the tight integration of various angles, such as Content, Application software, content management, operations and hardware, the only way to identify the secret sauce to success is by trial and error.
While scoping the job market for the next “en router” we look for self-driven individuals; no-sayers, who can strive in a dynamic startup environment. Finding such motivated people is far from easy, which is why we apply very strict filters right from scanning their CVs and first e-mail to analyzing their urge to make money vs. genuinely wanting to create impact.
When Varun and I started En Route, we always knew we wanted to create a unique corporate culture. A culture that doesn’t nurture yes-sayers, a culture that fuses professionalism with fun; we have a self-coined term for the culture we promote at work, it’s called Proactive Independence.
A culture isn’t easy to implement though, and is even harder to sustain, but I think we’re getting there. We allow our team to take initiatives, be heard, and watch their own ideas being implemented for the good of the entire company. Varun and I attempt to be good role models for them, and practice what we preach to keep them inspired. Along with this, we keep the atmosphere chirpy with a dose of humor with game nights, movie nights and other fun activities. This makes all of us constant learnings, while not forgetting about the bright side of life.
thoughts related to entrepreneurship
Arguably the biggest and forever enduring challenge while being a leader in any position is staying organized. You have to wear so many hats while at the same time nothing can fall between the cracks. People, who manage to always feel close to 100% in control when walking into office in the morning have a clear edge over any other entrepreneur out there, no matter how experienced he might be.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
Invest in good people right from the start. Be ready to spend more on human capital than you originally anticipated. You can bootstrap anywhere, but not when it comes to building the perfect team. Keep in mind, though, that the order of priorities should be fit and then experience. If you find someone, who fits into your culture perfectly and can add tremendous firing power to your team, do not hesitate even for a second to hire him/her.