By ANKITHA JOSEPH
Farheen Sayed’s ‘Brushflicks’ stands as a benchmark in Goa’s startup scenario with its much appreciated potential to be a billion dollar hub for creative tech industries
“Every company’s success needs to witness three roles – a visionary, who has a vision for the company; a hacker, to work on the technical background and of course, a hustler who is mostly the CEO of the company, with good public relations and marketing skills,” says Farheen Sayed, proprietor of ‘Brushflicks’.
An IT engineer by profession, Farheen Sayed relished art from her childhood. She didn’t just understand art and artists, but also sympathised with their grievances to survive in this world. “Ever since I was a child, I lived through art and was really passionate about it. And moreover, I come from a family with a hundred year old business wherein we would sell paintings,” Farheen says. She further adds, “I would see artists come every month and crib about how they found it difficult to make ends meet, and those who don’t have enough work.” This tale did not pertain to artists alone but akin to all other forms of art such as musicians, photographers and even actors. A basic question that came into Farheen’s young mind worked its way out as she grew up and has today build one of the most efficient start-ups of Goa.
India’s rich and diverse assortment of artistic talents left Farheen wondering of the irony that lay in the lack of employment for creativity.
Catering to a problem as huge as unemployment, Farheen couldn’t wait to start out with her dream venture, ‘Brushflicks’. Lack of the otherwise essential corporate experience did not deter her from starting off on her own. Her passion for art and determination to follow her dreams was the foundation on which she set her business. She had led out to rule the world with her ideas but financial backing was another crucial step she couldn’t escape. Though she had everything planned for the business, the execution of it demanded for finance that could provide appropriate stability for her venture. Her business plan remained firm, but frequent criticism and disbelief in her idea made the process of setting up a challenge. Recollecting her struggling days Farheen says, “I knew that nobody would give me seed fund. Even when I approached certain authorities, half of them just threw my proposal and advised that it wasn’t going to work and I had to convince myself to move on.”
Recognizing the skilful character of Farheen, her family always showed support for her, but Farheen wanted to do complete justice to being a ‘self-made woman’. She built a startup to finance her dream startup. And that is how ‘Canvas Mirage’ came into existence, a platform to sell art prints. After a series of ups and downs, Farheen finally started out with ‘Brushflicks’ in the year 2016. ‘Brushflicks’ set out as a social networking platform for creative people in the country who could network and monetize their creative efforts. “Millions of artists, musicians, writers and actors are unemployed and unemployment can take a tough mental toll leading to psychological breakdowns such as depression and suicide. We at Brushflicks are looking at solving this problem by generating opportunities and employment for people in the sector,” she says. She also highlights that ‘Brushflicks’ focuses on connecting the folk artistes from remote areas through digital technology and preserve the heritage. ‘Brushflicks’ helps flourish the traditional heroes but at the same time works to attract youth of the modern times to continue the legacy.
Entrepreneurship for Farheen is always welcomed, irrespective of what one is selling. “I don’t mind selling whatever it is, at the end of the day I’m an entrepreneur and I would do it passionately.” While those were the early days; today, after two years of hard work, ‘Brushflicks’ has scored more than 3 international investors who have approached to invest in the venture. Adding to her success was winning the recent ‘CM’s Startup Challenge’ competition.
Finance was one challenge that was taking its own pace to be resolved. Another challenge that got Farheen working harder was building a team. Her passion demanded for an efficient team which could bring that extra professional touch to her dreams. Currently, the core team comprises of three people; Kirti Ranjan, the strategic partner of the company and Elroy Fernandes with his 15 year long experience in the software industry as the technical head of the company. Under these futurists, seven team members help achieve the vision for the company.
Speaking of the company’s potential Farheen says, “We are connected with a lot of industries that post job vacancies on our site and a lot of job profiles from different countries on the site. Members of Brushflicks can go and apply for a job if they want or can even seek freelancing assignments. We are only trying to provide employment opportunities to the creative community.”
While Farheen was busy making it easier for the creative folks of the country; as time passed, she came across another concern that disturbed the environment which was the distress of acrylic waste management. “Acrylic waste can survive in the environment for over 3000 years and we convert it into beautiful acrylic items with IOT integrated technology,” explains Farheen.
According to her, the idea behind ‘Brushflicks’ is to infuse creativity and technology together to solve major problems. Under the most efficient team of the venture, today ‘Brushflicks’ holds a capacity of converting acrylic waste to over one thousand attractive acrylic items. From organizing boxes to customized wedding cards, ‘Brushflicks’ does it all with no compromise on quality. Starting out as a networking site and later moving to become a manufacturing unit; for the future, Farheen has something special in mind for the future – to enter the Virtual Reality Space soon. “We have devised an algorithm which will convert the website into 3D, making us the world’s first 3D website,” says Farheen.
Having received the expected success for her own startup, Farheen’s take on the current startup scenario in Goa is faintly cold. “Startup is something new in Goa and so are startup competitions in the state. It is eventually going to catch up, but at the moment I feel the startup environment has lots to gather. There are several startups moving out of Goa and the government needs to look into the matter,” says Farheen. She further adds, “Government should try and retain the startups moving out with new and better facilities. Challenges faced by most of the startups are that they do not have proper handholding or they do not have proper seed funding. Things will fall into place if these aspects are looked into; and a balance is maintained among them.”
With the vision of reaching most number of quality masses, ‘Brushflicks’ makes its active presence through digital marketing. With almost four billion people online, Farheen believes that finding her desired customers will be a comparatively easier task. They also plan to approach institutes that offer specializations in subjects such as art, music and more for mass involvement. Farheen also plans to tie up with international groups which will help ‘Brushflicks’ and its products break into international markets.