A Startup Crafted through Love for Regional Music

Baahi is an exclusive regional music streaming platform. Melange caught up with Mrinmoy Kumar one of the four co-founders to bring you the details of this unique startup
A Startup Crafted through Love for Regional Music

Baahi was launched in December 2020 and today it has 5000 plus artists and over 12000 songs listed on the platform. The android and iOS apps have recorded 80,000 downloads so far. Baahi is making a conscious effort to promote new artists and is also trying to collect old, lost regional music and preserve these digitally for the future generations. 

Please tell us everything about Baahi?

Baahi started as an initiative to conserve and promote regional music and culture in North East India. Based in Assam, our website baahi.xomoy.com along with the Baahi Android and iOS apps provides regional music streaming and podcast services. Baahi was launched in December 2020 and today it has 5000 plus artists and over 12000 songs listed on the platform. The android and iOS apps have recorded 80,000 downloads so far. We are planning to expand our services in all languages and dialects of North East India by 2023.

We are working on extending our podcast service with more unique contents. There is a plan to introduce audio books for a wider audience; Web 3.0 based Blockchain technology and music NFTs are also in our pipeline.

We make a conscious effort to promote new artists on our platform. We make it easy for them to upload their music and we also highlight such music. We are also trying to collect old, lost regional music and preserve them digitally for our future generation.

Baahi is registered under Xomoy Innovatives

Private Limited. Xomoy Innovatives Private Limited was incorporated on 13 April, 2021 with the singular aim of solving various problems of our society through digital products/ innovations.

What was the inspiration or vision behind your unique start up? What are some of the social objectives that you envisage through this?

Some years ago, I was pursuing my BTech in Bhubaneswar. During that time I was searching for some of my favourite Assamese songs in some popular music streaming apps. However, I could not find most of the songs that I was searching for. Moreover, I was also very unhappy when I discovered that there were no dedicated sections of music for my native language. Therefore I decided to develop a regional music streaming platform. My dream eventually materialised when I met my friends Rittiz Dutta Hazarika, Krishanu Kashyap and Biswajit Baruah who are currently the co-founders of the startup.

Please elaborate on your entrepreneurial journey challenges and milestones?

Our entrepreneurial journey was full of challenges from day one. As we had no existing market connections we had to struggle to convince different record labels and distributors about our idea and got many rejections. As student entrepreneurs, we had to manage our time and energy for both our startup as well as studies. Initially we had to struggle a lot for the contents of our platform. We had to travel from place to place to meet key people of the industry. Despite ringing several music distributors and record labels multiple times, we did not get any response for their contents. Gradually, once we completed our initial prototype we were able to impress people and eventually our clients started believing in our dream and finally started to share their songs and music with us. Many prominent artists and music producers of Assam helped us later on to know about the market.

We were able to hit over 50k downloads in just three months, which was a crucial milestone for us. But still things didn't go well for us. At some point of time we thought of giving up as financial challenges for us also grew during those times. As we were bootstrapped, we had to struggle a lot to pay our server expenses and to purchase various technical essentials/things. To earn revenue we are dependent on ad networks and at that time we needed to incorporate our company to get paid from those ad networks. We had to borrow money to get our company incorporated. Various ups and downs have discouraged us several times. Despite our hard work and struggle we are not able to get streaming permission of various contents, due to our financial limitations. Infact things got worse when a few people tried to acquire our application at a negligible price. Keeping ourselves motivated to work and persevere in such adverse situations was also another big challenge.

Fortunately this year, 2022, has changed us a lot and given us new energies and good vibes to achieve various precious milestones. We were able to bag the 3rd position in North East Startup Festival, 2022. We have over 5000 artists on our platform with over 12000 songs and this number is increasing every day. We were selected by Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) for grant funding which is one of our biggest milestones achieved so far. Recently we have also cracked a national level competition, Chunauti 3.0 by STPI and also got selected for seed funding by Pontaq VC.

Which were the organisations that have helped and enabled you along the way in terms of mentorship support and funds?

Speaking about the external help we must definitely mention our partnered record labels and music distributions who believed in us and shared their contents in our app. This really helped in shaping our ideas into reality and reaching our audience.

Initially we didn't have much idea about the startup culture and its journey. Finally when we got selected in Cohort 3.0 of Assam Startup (after being rejected in Cohort 2.0) we started to learn new things for our journey. Our server expenses were too high and we were facing financial issues to bear it. It was because of Assam Startup that we received a good amount of our server credits, which helped a lot. We were enlightened with various knowledge sessions and webinars in various aspects of a startup.

Meanwhile, we met one of our mentors, Biswa Singha who is the CEO of Boppo Technologies. He helped us a lot in the technical aspects and also helped us to understand the customer's mindset in the evolving and dynamic market. He eventually also helped us financially and it was because of this gentleman that we could cover up some of our running expenses in the hardest times.

Everything changed and a turning point of our startup came when we met our next mentor Pankaj Baruah from Assam Startup, who is helping and guiding us in every aspect. It was under his guidance that we achieved most of our milestones and raised two fundings from NRL (grant funding) and Pontaq VC (equity funding).

We must also mention NRL who has a significant role in our startup and provided us with the much needed financial relief. Moreover I and my co-founders believe that the support received from STPI (in the form of seed funding under Pontaq VC) and the incubation support from Wadhwani Foundation shall be helping in changing the future of our startup.

Before concluding we must reiterate our gratitude towards IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, who has helped us in many of our major decisions and guided us a lot. This has also been an indelible support.

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