This is the story of Mr. Benjamin Jacob & Mrs. Ivy Manohara, the couple who dared to dream big. You can only envision their skillfulness, by the fact that their dream project ‘Filmapia’ has grown from revenue of a few lakhs in 2018, to a 1+ Cr in 2019.
Filmapia is a Bangalore-based first Indian open web-based platform to directly connect filmmakers, property owners, preproduction service providers, and cinephillias. Over the years, Filmapia has grown to have the largest film location library in Asia.
The road to success was nothing like a walk in the park.
Mr. Benjamin Jacob or Ben (as his colleagues love to call him) after Graduating from prestigious NCST Juhu, Mumbai has worked with organizations like MGL, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Sandvine. Benjamin, a professional polymath became the sole inventor of COYO (a utility device to solve the painful problem of entangled cables, such as earphones and mouse cables).
Ivy Manohara the digital-biz-women has 17 years of experience in GIS. She has been a Program Manager for Rio Tinto. This new era innovator directed Athena Academy (research-based training, coaching, and consulting firm, in the field of English Enhancement, Personality Chrysalis, and out-of-the-box Technical and e-Governance Training) for 9 years.
While doing their full-time jobs, they also had a passion for movies and traveling. They started uploading films and shooting a location photo library that created a buzz online. Being keen observers, they realized the disorganization in the film shooting industry. Location scouting for film shoots is arguably the most painful task in a Film making venture. The cost & uncertainty in terms of time to scout, location rental prices, genuineness of the services, and accountability is very high.
As they always loved to entangle things and simplify with their perfect solutions, the problem-solver in them coined the business idea of a one-stop shop for filmmakers and their service providers.
Starting in 2011, Following six long years of extensive research and learning of the film industry along with their highly demanding IT jobs, Mr. Benjamin Jacob and Mrs. Ivy Manohara founded Filmapia in 2017. But making profits out of a hobby without a penny of funding was not at all easy. In their own words,
From the certainty of “staplers to salaries” in a corporate job to the uncertainty of “staplers to salaries” as a startup, this has been one exhilarating roller-coaster ride, which we are enjoying thoroughly. It’s been an eye opener on many fronts – from creating plans, and executing plans, to team management, and more!
In the competitive market of film shooting and preproduction services, technology-driven Filmapia has proved that networking is the key to the business.
Filmapia served as a Film-shoot online facilitator for:
- Filmmakers – Booking the creatively best-suited film (be it web series, documentaries, ad-films, TV serials, or mainstream movies) shooting locations globally (private or public), thus cutting down pre-production costs by saving time and that too in few clicks.
- Property Owners– Renting and earning from their own furniture, car, factory, office, or house suited for film shooting.
- Pre-Production Service Providers – Showcasing the network efficient services of Line Production, locations & get more business.
- Cinephillias –Discovering the actual locations where their favorite films were shot.
In short “Filmapia is an Airbnb for film shooting locations”
Filmapia works on a B2B2C business model.
In this model both the filmmaker and the service providers benefitted by registering on the site of Filmapia. Filmmakers got easy access to film shooting locations, checking the locality, and availability on schedule, and the service provider thus got more business from the accountable sources thereby eliminating the unwanted mediators. Filmapia got in charge of verification, registration, connection, and earning.
Where they have reached so far?
“The global film industry shows healthy projections for the coming years, as the global box office revenue is forecast to increase from about 38 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to nearly 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2020”.
Over 5000 properties registered and a lean team of 56, the revenue figure of Filmapia is increasing from USD 7K by Aug 2017 to USD 150K by Nov 2018. Filmapia has seen a slight dip in 2019 with major projects being stalled due to the COVID pandemic since Feb 2019. But with all the projects in the pipeline, Filmapia is looking to double its revenue in 2020. The future goals of Filmapia include more featuring on the website and enlisting more and more Properties around the world.