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Updated: AR Rahman & Shekhar Kapur’s Media Startup Qyuki Goes Live

Updated With Information From The Launch Event

AR Rahman & Shekhar Kapur have finally launched their media startup ‘Qyuki‘. We had initially reported this venture about this venture in November 2010 and the company had secured funding from Cisco Systems in February 2012.

At that time, Shekhar Kapur had said that Qyuki will allow the co-creation of creative content and partly crowd source content like lyrics and music among others. In addition, he had also mentioned that they had hired around 25 people into their Bangalore office and the platform was expected to go live in May 2012. The company is headed by Poonacha Machaiah, who was previously the chairman and CEO of ABOVE Solutions Inc.

We’re attending the launch and will update this post with more information.

Mentors: At launch, Qyuki seems to have signed up experts across several creative categories like film making, music, novel writing and photography including Imtiaz Ali, Chetan Bhagat, Ranjit Barot and Suresh Natarajan to provide creative ideas to artists and also collaborate with them in creating new content.

What Does It Offer? When we checked, we observed that Qyuki offers a platform for artists to share their content, connect to people with similar creative interests, view creations from various other artists, and collaborate with them to create content. The website is currently divided into three main sections namely Creations, Community and Inspirations.

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The Creations section showcases all the content previously uploaded by various artists and experts in a Pinterest-like pin-board format. This content can be a film script, a poem, a song, a photo, or a cartoon among others. Users can sort these creations by recentness or popularity or filter these creations on the basis of genre, emotions, and location. One can also filter the creations to view content only from any specific expert. There is a keyword based search box to allow users to search for their preferred creations.

Reactions: Users can click on any specific creation to view the entire content and express their opinion through comments. What’s interesting here is that the site also offers various reaction buttons like Love, Hope, Joy, Sorrow, Pride, Anger, and Boredom among others below each content, to allow users express their opinion. Each creation also offers something called EmoGraf which is essentially an average score of emotional responses received from the Qyuki community.

Curation: We noticed that there is a significant effort towards curating the content on the platform and highlighting noteworthy content. For instance, there is Qyuki’s Handpicks which offers content curated by an in-house Qyuki team, Community Loved which features popular content on the portal and Expert’s Handpicks which we assume will offer content curated by the experts.

Registration: We also noticed that while users can view creations and ideas, they will need to sign up to submit their creations, post comments, follow other users and send messages. The site currently allows users to sign up either through their Facebook credentials or by a filling up a form with requisite details like Name, Gender, Location, and Email Address.

After signing up, the site offers a Tumblr-like dashboard for users to upload their creation. One can choose their content type (text, picture, audio, and video), add a title and description, choose relevant categories for the creation and preview it before publishing it. Interestingly, users can also tag the creation with any specific emotion like Love, Joy, Boredom, Pride, Fear, Hope and Sorrow among others.

Community: As the name suggests, Community section lists all the members registered on the portal. Users can sort these members by recentness or popularity or filter them on the basis of genre, location and noteworthiness. Following this, one can click on any member to browse through their creations, learn additional information about them and follow them to receive their future updates.

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Inspirations: Inspirations are essentially ideas or challenges put out by experts in a bid to encourage users upload more content to the platform. For instance, some of the challenges listed the site include Chetan Bhagat’s challenge to write a 300 word article about an incident that touched the user or Suresh Natarajan’s challenge to capture a mother and child relationship in a photo among others.

Qyuki Premiere: On the homepage, there is also a dedicated section called Qyuki Premiere, which showcases creations developed by the Qyuki team. At the time of  writing this article, the site offered short video previews of two Shekhar Kapur creations called ‘War Lord’ and ‘Moments In Motion’ and an AR Rehman creation ‘Melange’. The company noted that content in Qyuki Premiere is currently free to view but it intends to provide access through subscription in the future. It also noted that the content created will be exclusive and will be owned by Qyuki. We believe this will be the destination where the company will be showcasing all its finished creations to regular users.


During the launch event, Qyuki previewed its Android app and stated that the app will available on Google Play Store later today. The company also plans to launch an iOS app, Windows Phone app and a mobile site m.qyuki.com in the future.

Vernacular Language Support : Machaiah also stated that Qyuki is currently available in English language but they plan to add support for regional languages in the future.

Monetization Strategy: Elaborating on Qyuki’s business model, Machaiah stated that the company is looking to earn revenue from three different channels:

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– Brand Engagement solutions wherein brands will sponsor premium content on Qyuki Premiere or will put up sponsored inspirations on the Qyuki platform. At launch, Qyuki has tied up with Dell Alienware to sponsor Shekhar Kapur’s War Lord movie.

– Subscription model for Qyuki users to access premium content, as stated earlier. Machaiah didn’t disclose any specific details on the subscription period or its pricing.

– Site Advertising when Qyuki is able to reach a critical mass.

Qyuki Marketplace in March 2013: In March 2013, they plan to launch a creative marketplace to sell and license the content uploaded on the portal on a revenue sharing basis with the uploader, although he didn’t disclose any specific revenue share ratio.

Partnerships: Machaiah stated that Qyuki has also inked partnerships with Rajshri Productions and Siddhartha Basu’s Big Synergy to develop content for distribution across various platforms. The details of this partnership is yet undisclosed and Basu noted that the content strategy talks with Qyuki are currently in preliminary stages, however he mentioned of a possible television show in the future.


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