Media is considered to be the 4th pillar of Indian Democracy. It plays a crucial role in keeping a balance/check on the other 3 pillars of democracy- executive, legislature, and judiciary. Media is a medium that helps in bringing awareness to people on various social, cultural and economic activities happening around the world. It has the power to make or break the government as it plays a crucial role in shaping the public opinions.
In India, a majority of news channels are aligned either with the ruling or the opposition party. Moreover, there is always a possibility of news being published by the so-called media houses, in favour or against one party or the other. As this is somewhat a well-known scenario, indeed people these days have become conscious and are looking for a right source of information with proper facts.
Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI Act) mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to give aware the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
This act is in place since 2005 but most of the times the citizens are either unaware how to file an RTI or access information related to previously filed RTIs. In addition to this, it is high time that we have one body which gathers news with proper fact checking and keeping all the RTIs filed so far in one place for people to readily have access to.
One such body working, in bringing all these together through various modes like RTIs, interviews, real-time news coverage, trending topics etc is RTIwala. Their mission is to deliver the data-driven sensible news and analytical reports for the Knowledge seekers and the Wise. Also, they are working hard to bring forward the unreported & misreported news by so-called the established media houses, that too in a very legitimate way.
They have a highly dedicated team of Lawyers, RTI Activists & Journalists who are constantly busy in preparing some groundbreaking news reports, supported by the facts and figures, to unearth the Corruption and Malpractices of Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Industrialists!
Here, is an interview with Mr. Sumeet Mahendra, Founder and CEO of RTIwala.
When you started this entrepreneurship?
On July 26, 2017, to be specific, we have launched the beta version of our website. It’s just been 3 months approximately and we’re all charged up with the kind of response we’ve been receiving. Amen to that!!
People involved in your business while start-up up?
Well, I’d like to mention that RTIwala’s core team is a very close-knit one. That primarily means, we are working towards a specific goal in a very well-thought manner and each of us brings in a lot of passion and efforts at the outset of each day. Here’s a brief intro to Team RTIwala or Rw Team, as we fondly refer to it.
Sumeet Mahendra: Founder and CEO of RTIwala, Author, and Political Analyst. The brain behind this initiative which transformed into a media venture.
Moumita Dash: Deputy Editor with over 5 years of experience in the media and dot-com industries, she’s a seasoned writer with a streak for news and analysis. A post-graduation in business didn’t help her deviate from pursuing her passion for investigative journalism and socio-political analysis. Hence, she shares her passion with RTIwala as the Editor.
Ruchita Jain: Chief Legal Officer at RTIwala, she has completed her LL.M from Sussex University London.
Gourav Mahendra: Chief Technology Officer and Ex-MNC employee with 4+ years of Experience. He takes care of everything related to coding.
Hemant Singh: Marketing Head & Business Development Officer at RTIwala.
Gehna Kundra: She’s handling PR and Communications at RTIwala.
Kriti Gupta: The Art Director and Illustrator in RTIwala Team.
What was the Eureka moment to launch RTIWala.com?
Well, RTIwala wasn’t born on the spur of the moment. So, there’s hardly a Eureka moment as such. However, it is important to mention here that all of us at RTIwala are very compassionate individuals. We think and ponder over all that’s happening around us. Deep down, we, as individuals have always had a desire to do something for social empowerment, to do something meaningful that would improve the way things are. And that’s how RTIwala was born.
What was stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur?
Probably, our skepticism. Unlike most of the start-ups these days, Rw Team isn’t exactly a group of friends with a common background, be it social or academic. Our team is a great example of ‘unity in diversity (haha). But yes, what’s meant to happen, does happen. Let’s put it this way, we all wanted to do something out of the box, something that would make a difference to ourselves and others, beyond the stuck in a rut 9-5 schedules that we all had. And somehow, we decided to take the plunge and the rest will be history, for sure. Amen to that!!
What are the habits which lead to your success?
Success is yet to follow, actually. All we can say is that we’re doing pretty well for a 3-month old baby that RTIwala is. Of course, there are a few things we believe in, that are very crucial for any successful start-up.
- Passion for your venture
- A proficient team with utmost trust in each other
- Transparency/communication at all times
- Utmost dedication towards all short and long-term goals
- Understanding the value of time. So much can change within a day itself.
- Being able to build and maintain relations with the industry and beyond. Cordial relations with your peers, clients, contemporaries and even your competitors can take you a long way and we live by that.
And fortunately enough, at RTIwala, we all are committed to these.
What makes you unique in the competitor’s’ market?
Anything that’s far from the mainstream is unique. And we’re doing just that. The wait is over and a major percentage of the population is fading away from the mainstream media houses. We all know how to differentiate between biased journalism from the unbiased ones. As they say, ‘if you repeat a lie 100 times, it becomes the truth.’ But things are changing, and very rapidly at that.
RTIwala is all about sensible, uncluttered collection of news and revelation reports like you’ve never seen before. We cover industry-specific reports intended to serve the public interest in every possible way. RTIwala is a citizen-centric media and news publisher which intends to create a buzz through all that’s informative and necessary to be known by every citizen.
Our flagship product RTIwala Reveals is all about revelations that haven’t ever been brought up in the open. Moving further, we have Rw Interviews with entrepreneurs, C-level executives, youth icons and other influential individuals like Gaurav Munjal, Bhavin Turakhia, Pankaj Jain and Sri Srijan Pal Singh. We’ve already interviewed more than 6 bigshots in just 3 months and many others like Ranjana Kumari, Sunil Duggal are already lined up for the days to come. Do visit us on www.rtiwala.com and check out all our categories from Rw Trending to Rw Reveals.
What is your future plan for this start-up?
We’re expending it horizontally and vertically. Quite soon we’re going to launch our own YouTube Channel i.e. RTIwala TV as it’s video which we co-produced with ScoopWhoop media has already broadcasted on 15 Aug 2017. And, it is followed by the RTIwala Reveals, an exclusive magazine in digital as well as print form.
What is your business mantra?
Our mantra is to ‘Empower the masses’. In this regard, we also have our in-house advocates to help people in filing their RTIs. Our website www.rtiwala.com has a dedicated RTI Box and Rw Downloads for reference.
We put in our best to reach out to people in power and those with highest authorities to bring about facts, transparency and latest developments across private and public sectors.
From politicians and bureaucrats to entrepreneurs and social activists, we bring out most of the facts, figures, and dish out content in an engaging manner.
Did you receive any funding from any Venture Capital?
We are just a little over 3-months old and have just got done with the company compliance procedure as the Praantech Media Pvt Ltd is being established by this week itself. We got some offers from the India and Abroad as Media Matters approached us in the month of September then a Delhi bases Media Group too approached us through the PR agency.
Now, we are all set to look for investors and VCs. We’ve also been invited almost all the famous Start-up events like Techspark 17 and Smart CEO 50.
We’re getting many such invitations and funding queries on weekly basis. After all, funds are the bloodline of every business and RTIwala is no exception.
In 2015-16 we have noticed many promising startups came up. Do you think in 2017 we are noticing a dip in promising startups?
Call it a trend or culture, start-up is a very new concept in India. It has its own set of pros and cons. Yes, it’s true that 2015-16 has seen a comparatively higher no. of start-ups come up. I’m not too sure what is exactly meant by the term ‘promising’ but I think now the start-up aura has started to sink in well and this dip signifies a more strategic approach by the budding entrepreneurs. Since most of the underperforming ones suffered because of a lack of long-term strategic planning.
What is clearly visible is that most of them took the plunge without much preparedness. But now, things are easier and the Govt. is more supportive. So I’m hoping most of them coming up in the days ahead will be here for the long run with better strategies and resources.
What do you think about the start-ups in India and other countries?
India, both as an economy and society, is quite different from the west. It is comparatively difficult to begin a new venture in India due to the redtapeism. Although that’s being taken care of off late, we can’t deny the fact that the concept of a start-up is still fascinating to many. In the West, the policies are a lot more favorable for new ventures and the policies are in tandem with employment generation.
Unlike them, we have a dearth of employment opportunities which makes oneself feel lucky enough on getting a job, let alone starting a business.
What message would you like to share with a new entrepreneur?
Begin strategizing with an USP of your product/service. That’s how you can compete. Also, it is essential to be passionate and dedicated to your venture. Trust me, be it a customer or an investor, nobody would like to waste their time on someone they find acutely timid.Click here for reuse options!
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