Indrajit Gupta, Charles Assisi and CS Swaminathan have launched Founding Fuel Publishing - a digital media and learning platform aimed at entrepreneurs.
The team has signed agreements with Mint, the business daily from HT Media, as well as Ping, a digital television network, under which Founding Fuel will provide content.
Gupta and Assisi were, most recently, part of the leadership team that set up Forbes India. Former journalists, they worked their way up to senior roles at leading media organisations, including The Times of India and Economic Times. Swaminathan was President of Pearson's online learning platform Tutor Vista.
Founding Fuel will also have an advisory council comprising prominent corporate citizens who have committed to guide and mentor the team. These include Analjit Singh, chairman, Max Group; Arun Maira, former chairman of BCG India and member, Planning Commission; D Shivakumar, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo India region; Harsh Mariwala, chairman, Marico; Kiran Karnik, former president, Nasscom; Rama Bijapurkar, well-known market strategy expert; Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and vice-chairman, Naukri.com and Uday Shankar, CEO, Star TV India.
"Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. There aren't enough credible platforms that allow aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to interact, learn and be inspired, to deal with the multiple challenges they face in scaling their enterprise. I am convinced Founding Fuel will fulfill these unmet needs," says Mariwala.
Founding Fuel's partnership with Mint translates to two pages of exclusive content on entrepreneurship in the newspaper every week.
"India is truly becoming a start-up nation," says R Sukumar, editor of Mint. "Apart from tracking entrepreneurial activity, Mint believes that it has a responsibility to do its bit for entrepreneurs. The partnership with Founding Fuel is a step in this direction. It helps that the Mint newsroom and Founding Fuel share the same editorial sensibilities."
The company will create broadcast-quality content as well, on YouTube and Daily Motion, in association with Ping Network, a firm co-founded by Govindraj Ethiraj, former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg TV India. Ethiraj says, "Entrepreneurs are increasingly searching online for engaging and insightful business content. At Ping Network, we are combining our cutting-edge digital television production capabilities with Founding Fuel's influential contributor network to co-create high-impact television shows to cater to this growing demand."
Business strategist Rajesh Srivastava will host a weekly show 'The New Rules of Business' on www.foundingfuel.com, which will be the first of many distinctive audio and video offerings designed for the on-the-go listener.
Founding Fuel has built an extended network of contributors that include independent journalists, senior business leaders and institutional knowledge partners. "While the focus will remain on telling compelling stories, we intend to generate experiential learning of the kind entrepreneurs can directly apply to their business," Assisi says.
The company's online avatar, still in beta, is being built by Achyut Nayak, a software veteran with 24 years of international experience at Fortune 500 companies like FIS Global. The backbone and analytics engine that powers Founding Fuel is the outcome of thousands of man hours of research and work by Silicon Valley-based firm Wizrocket, co-founded by Sunil Thomas and funded by Accel Partners.
Founding Fuel's distinctive brand identity is designed by Gurgaon-based branding firm BrandNEW and the website by Harish Mohan of Bengaluru-based Cynere Infotech.
In the next stage, Founding Fuel will build a mobile app, an integrated suite of digital learning solutions, events and conferences, offer mentoring services and create a curated marketplace for entrepreneurial products and services. "Niche digital media properties have a great opportunity to develop and serve large audiences," Swaminathan says, adding, "by edging into an adjacency like learning, Founding Fuel will offer a more immersive experience for its audience."