Corporate Review

Innovative Startup of the Year 2021: 19th Hole Studios

Innovative Startup of the Year 2021: 19th Hole Studios

Fine-tuned to create out of the box animations

Content preferences, across the world, have shuffled post-pandemic, allowing production houses to rejig new offerings. Based on this, many studios are raising the bar in delivering bespoke content.

The Indian market, once occupied by global players who were spending millions of dollars on their project was running with the herd mentality and stuck at one formula. Today, the industry has reached newer heights, growing at 9 % & expected to reach ~Rs. 3 lakh crore (US$ 43.93 billion) by 2024 (CAGR of 13.5%). A bunch of fresh animation studios are transforming the very notion of how animation content is perceived globally. They are here to make their mark not only locally but around the world.

One such start-up belonging to the fresh crop is 19th Hole Studios. An animation studio based in Hyderabad, 19th Hole studio homes a strong team of experienced animators and offers the best services in 2D (production and preproduction) and Gaming. Known for its unique solutions, the studio offers a perfect amalgamation of quality and performance by delivering high-quality creative outputs on time.

Since its inception, 19th Hole studios has been building up a portfolio of high quality and creative animation. They have also built up a diverse array of business relationships with high-profile clients and studios under the leadership of D.Tamil Azhagan. An ex-army officer and a marketing pundit, Tamil ventured into the animation industry in 2018. The studio’s intriguing name comes from where the idea to begin an animation studio struck him – 19th Hole. His passion for work is what has been driving the whole organization.

We recently caught up with Tamil, who shares his thoughts around his journey into the animation industry and his animation studio.

Edited Excerpts

How did you get into the animation industry?

After serving the Indian army for 8 years, I started my second innings in the IT sector. There I contributed my career’s decade in the sales department, counting it as my professional stint in Media and Entertainment segment. There, I began developing interest in the creative field and finally decided to start my entrepreneurial journey with my studio on May 15 2018.

Can you give us more insights into your services?

At the time of inception, my company was completely into 3D animation. Later, we switched to 2D animation- pre-production, production and post-production. Recently, we have entered into the 2D gaming segment as well.

What’s the scale of the company’s business today? What does economics look like?

When I started the company, I struggled hard to cover my expenditure. Over time, I learnt how to sustain myself in this industry. Currently, our turnover is close to 2 Cr with multiple presences across metro cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. I have also started a new division – 2D gaming in Hyderabad and we are also planning to launch our academy in 2022. My journey from 15 to 60 employees has been amazing.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?

To be very honest, WFH was difficult to implement initially. Later, with my team’s support, I was able to do much better in terms of business and quality of output. My team has highly supported me during the lockdown when the entire world was struggling financially. Time is changing and I think WFH might be the future way of working and we are completely prepared for it.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

I see myself as my biggest competitor to strive for a new height in my career. I compete with none but myself every single day. Once I compete with my expectations, again a new expectation comes up with new ideas and improvement. I never get stuck in a “comparison trap”. A better approach to challenges in life is to compare yourself to yourself.

I am planning to expand in the same industry. We will be launching 19th Hole Academy soon, in 2022 along with my much-awaited IP release.

What has been the industry reaction thus far? Any milestone to share?

Milestone – our 3 years in the industry. I have been in the M&E industry for a very long time, but on the technical side and not creative. Within 3 years with Covid-19 and lockdown, I have successfully opened new branches in Kolkata and Chennai and stepped into the gaming segment as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey with all the creative heads around me.

Which markets do you operate in currently and which markets are you planning to enter soon?

Currently, our main target audience is in urban areas. Now, we want to expand to the rural areas to operate in the 2D animation and gaming sector. I am planning to enter into the educational sector in rural areas of West Bengal; A step towards spreading animation to the rural sector. I have noticed that most of the animation institutes mainly target the urban areas whereas the rural sector is completely ignored. I want to bring this change.

What can we expect to see from the company over the next 12 months?

My IP will decide the future of my company.

Finally, can you please share some advice or your favourite quote?

To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be focused and must allow & encourage your team members to make their own decisions and take on new challenges.

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