In this weekly series, we bring to you young entrepreneurs who fought all odds to live their dream.
When you meet 21-year-old Samar Kamtekar, he comes across as a regular college student. As minutes pass you realise there is much more to his persona. He is focused and headstrong. Mention Internet and like every other youngster he is aware of the importance and impact it has. But, the reason he stands out, from the others his age, is that he chose to take advantage of the medium. Samar founded Pimpri Chinchwad Bulletin (PCB), a Marathi news portal in early 2014. There has been no looking back since then. Today, PCB stands 17th in the Marathi news category in Maharashtra
I was always fascinated by the power of the Internet. It helps to reach out to people, disseminate information and influence opinions. My objective behind starting PCB was the same- provide up-to-date information about the latest happenings in the city. The idea is to play a role of public awareness and creation of public opinions for this generation.
We are self-funded and the seed investment was 10 lakh. As a news portal; we want to remain an ‘independent voice’ and not become a handmaiden of ‘donors’. Being self-funded has not been easy. We have had to deal with severe financial constraints. But, it has been worth it. PCB is known for its integrity and fearlessness.
We have a highly qualified team of reporters that scout the city to tap various issues confronting our city. Our reporters also cover state, national and international events of importance. Our office staff handles responsibilities with regard to putting up the news articles on the PCB portal and managing our app, facebook and twitter accounts.
The biggest challenge for me was my lack of know-how about the whole business of setting up a news portal, operating a news portal and all the matters connected to the same. I am a student of environmental engineering and the domain of ‘news portals’ was neither a part of my study nor a part of my skill set. The learning curve for me was really steep.
The response has been amazing! I’d like to quote a few statistics to highlight the feedback from our clientele. About 3 lakh unique visitors have visited our website since its inception. In a year, we completed 10 million page views. This I feel is truly phenomenal because originally our target population was the Pimpri Chinchwad population.
Being my own boss
The freedom to innovate, create and experiment. People had no faith in the very idea of me starting a Marathi news web portal. They thought it was a recipe for outright failure. But now PCB stands 17th in the Marathi news category in Maharashtra. Thus, I can say that I could dare to dream and actualise my dream because I am my own boss.
During the elections we initiated a poll ‘Which candidate will you vote for?’ This poll received a huge response. I even started getting calls at 1 am from representatives of various candidates asking whether their candidate was leading. People started getting messages and letters directing them to vote for a certain candidate. The drama around the poll was just hilarious.