The following report is based on the video conference between Jonah Jacob Eapen, Founder of Volume and Himasweeta Sarma, Brand Executive at The Story Lane along with Divyanshi Kumari, Brand Associate at The Story Lane.
“Why do we still limit our reading content to just black & white? For the past 30 years, the internet has been filled with content that looks more or less the same. With a million pixels on your phone, the reading experience can be made so much more immersive. The Content industry has been outdated for quite some time, what if we could do something to push that?”
Questioning the monotonous industry standards that have been there for more than 30 years, Jonah Eapen, along with Suzana John, Saurabh Pujari and Abhiram Bairu, has brought in the new era of curated and crafted content through their startup VOLUME. It is common knowledge that at this point in the 21st century, almost all reading content-based websites are still restricted to the age-old industry norms of black & white text with some images strewn around in patterns, spreading monotony.
With the coming of mass print, the essence that was celebrated in the 14th century and older manuscripts that had the beautiful merger of illuminated text, art and writing was lost, thereby cultivating the need for VOLUME. VOLUME is the unprecedented collaboration of artists, writers, designers and developers working together towards creating a content experience like none before. Since every content is a brainchild of different creatives working together, no 2 titles will ever look or feel the same. Synonymous to the making of movies, Volume involves the direction of each title, each taken up as a new project, providing users a holistic experience of well-crafted quality content.
“I’ve had this idea since college. For me, building a startup means to build something that I’d love to use & I would passionately work on it day & night”
Hailing his roots from God’s own country Kerala, Jonah who is the founder of VOLUME and his 3 co-founders Suzana, Abhiram and Saurabh are a team of students from the reputed institution of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), Nagpur. Choosing entrepreneurship over the corporate lifestyle, despite the risks and the fact that 9/10 startup founders fail, Jonah has never considered success and failure associated with startups. He believes that “A failure from a startup which you have been able to push for 1 or 2 years is still better than 2 years of MBA.” Despite the odds, he didn’t feel entrepreneurship was much of a risk; even a short span in a startup would
equip one with the experience of working on a complicated problem in the industry.
When it comes to not stepping into the prominent industries like Ed-Tech and Food delivery, Jonah believes that their venture into a space that already exists would result in them making very little noise amidst the competition & dying out eventually as far as reading is concerned. However, with barely any competition in their chosen arena, he truly believes that they would be successful in making a significant dent. Coming from a design background and witnessing the outdated trends for the modern demands of content, he along with his co-founders stand today to bring a new revolution in the Content Industry through Volume.
“In a college, there is a budding startup idea in every third room which never comes into existence.”
In the case of the trials and tribulations faced, Jonah talks about the college environment where startups aren’t considered very common & if someone does start one, there is a negative spotlight on the individual. The Indian mindset, that is almost always skeptical towards startups, tends to breed a sense of insecurity and lack of confidence. With every individual having their own agenda in college, one’s startup idea may not be strong enough to convince people to create a team. As far as the current pandemic scenario is concerned, though it has helped VOLUME in breaking geographical barriers while creating a team, it has also lowered the chances of earning an investment, especially for a first- time founder.
“Bad days are a very trivial thing. We often mistake a lot of work with bad days.”
Jonah emphasizes that having a large quantity of work is often misunderstood as a bad day. However, an unestablished work culture does make things gloomy and dull sometimes. Lack of interaction, communication and structure due to remote work has certainly affected parts of their work. But the fact that they are progressing towards solving a complex industrial problem keeps them excited and motivated. In case of failure, they plan to open-source everything and put it online for people who might consider this attempted project worth the effort and take it up to continue the legacy.
“Somehow kick–start & build trust. You won’t have a team if you don’t build trust.”
For the youngsters and generations stepping into the entrepreneurship domain, Jonah emphasises on the importance of building trust and creating a good team. The effort put into the preparation of the website along with the IG handle helped people understand the seriousness of this initiative, thereby leading to the creation of a supportive crew built on trust. He remarks, “People would love to be a part of something that can make a significant impact.”