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In Conversation with Saurabh Pandey, CEO, Eloelo

Updated on: 10 August,2023 03:48 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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Online entertainment platforms gained a massive fillip during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their popularity has only risen.

In Conversation with Saurabh Pandey, CEO, Eloelo

Saurabh Pandey, CEO, Eloelo


Eloelo, a homegrown live-streaming entertainment platform aimed at users and creators from Bharat, has ridden this wave to gain a sizable following of 8mn users and attracted the attention of the startup ecosystem. The company has raised about $16mn in three funding rounds so far. Here are excerpts from a conversation with Saurabh Pandey, CEO of Eloelo:

Tell us everything about your startup. What were the challenges of setting up and scaling?

I am the co-founder of eloelo, a live streaming and social gaming platform that empowers creators from various fields to connect with millions of users nationwide. Our platform caters to the escapism needs of the Bharat audience, facilitating connections between users and their favorite creators based on common interests such as languages, games and entertainment categories.

On our app, creators live stream and play household games such as Snakes & Ladders, Bingo Tambola, Chidiya Udd with their followers. They can also use the platform to showcase their talents for singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, etc- almost like an interactive TV on your phone.

We encountered two significant challenges during our journey. Firstly, since we are building something truly unique, there is no established playbook to follow. Therefore, we had to innovate and develop our own playbook from scratch. Combining live streaming and social gaming is one of the largest and most complex endeavors in interactive entertainment, and cracking that required considerable effort.

Secondly, our app was launched amidst the pandemic, adding to the complexity of our venture. We had to overcome the cold start problem and attract the first 100,000 users while our initial team at eloelo was working remotely. Managing the entire launch process, launching games and finding our first set of 100 creators posed significant challenges. However, as a team, we persevered and successfully navigated these hurdles.

It took us approximately 21 months to reach our first milestone of 5 million users, and now we consistently gain over 5 million users every couple of months. This journey has been a testament to our team's resilience and determination.

When did you have your Eureka moment?

In our journey of building a consumer tech platform, there wasn't a single Eureka moment that defined our success. Rather, it was a series of moments that made us realize the potential of creating a large, enduring business.

The first significant moment occurred with the launch of our game Live Tambola. We observed a remarkable response from Indian households, as they embraced the game on our platform. Tambola became immensely popular, attracting a substantial number of active users and inspiring creators to host live games. This viral movement provided the necessary uplift for our product.

Another pivotal moment came when a celebrity, Sapna Chaudhary, joined our app for a live stream. We witnessed concurrent users exceeding fifty thousand in a single livestream, which highlighted the appeal of our platform and showcased our ability to handle high traffic. This reinforced our confidence in the product we had built.

Recently, we experienced our third significant eureka moment. With the introduction of six languages, we started to see traffic from regions beyond Hindi-speaking areas. Bengali and Telugu, in particular, have gained traction, leading to the creation of multiple rooms for both audio and video interactions. This expansion into different languages signifies that we are unlocking a large target audience, broadening our total addressable market (TAM).

These moments have shaped our product's journey, confirming our ability to cater to diverse user interests and paving the way for future growth.

How did you build the core team (co-founders and CXOs)? What is the total team size?

The team size has grown to approximately one hundred and ten individuals.

Initially, when we launched the product, we were a bootstrapped team. Gradually, in August 2020, we became a part of Waterbridge Fast Forward. At that time, our core team consisted of two developers, myself and my co-founder and two others, one in product, and one in business development.

Gradually as needs of business grew, we have hired leaders across all key functions. The 3 key principles we followed while building the core team was - 1) commitment towards the vision,  2) outcome oriented approach and 3) strong functional depth (given we are an early stage, we look for specialists and not generalists)

We recognized that our business is not merely tech-enabled; it is a tech-only business. Therefore, we focused on expanding our tech team, which now comprises more than thirty talented members. Our objective is to bring in the best talent who share our mission of addressing the escapism needs of India and empowering creators to earn a meaningful income. It is a powerful problem statement that has unified the entire team across various functions, making the journey even more fascinating.

Recently, we have also launched multifunctional pods at eloelo, which is an additional initiative aimed at scaling up our operations.

What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors, and what is your revenue model?

One aspect that truly sets us apart is our unique combination of live streams and interactive games. This model has never been attempted before in India, and globally, it is a significant playbook that has been successfully implemented by IPO'd companies like Yalla, Kuaishou as well as Series D companies such as Kumu. Our model integrates interactive livestreams with a game layer and chat, enhancing engagement within the live stream and providing creators with more opportunities to generate revenue from their users.

Here's how our business model works: Users can purchase virtual currencies on our platform, which they can then use to engage with creators, gift them, or spend within gameplays. The platform retains a certain percentage as its share, while the remaining portion goes to the creator who facilitated the engagement through their live streams. This incentivizes creators to host longer and more engaging live rooms, viewing eloelo as a significant and reliable source of income. This distinguishes us from other social media platforms that primarily rely on advertising-based revenue models.

By offering this unique combination of live streams, interactive games, and revenue opportunities for creators, we provide a platform that fosters deeper engagement, monetization, and a sense of community for both creators and users.

How are you funded?

To date, we have successfully raised a cumulative capital of approximately sixteen million dollars. Our funding has been supported by esteemed investors including Kalaari Capital, KB Investments, Water Bridge Ventures, Lumikai Fund, and Pernod-Ricard, among others. These top-notch investors have recognized the potential and vision of our platform, and their support has been instrumental in our growth and development.

What are your plans for Eloelo?

eloelo has the potential to establish itself as the definitive third digital place for individuals. By this, I mean that aside from one's home and their workplace or educational institution, there exists a third place where people can unwind, socialize, and engage in various activities. It's like a perpetually ongoing party with countless rooms, and you are bound to find a room that aligns with your interests. It could be a casual chit-chat room where people engage in light-hearted conversations, a gaming room, etc.

As the third digital place, eloelo allows you to be yourself, connect with strangers, forge new friendships, play games, and have a fantastic time. This broad range of use-cases positions eloelo as a standout app within the consumer internet space. Furthermore, for creators, the platform offers an opportunity to earn a meaningful income while engaging in these activities. This aligns with our vision of becoming the future of interactive entertainment. We are actively taking steps to realize this vision and establish ourselves as the go-to platform for immersive and interactive experiences.

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