Aahan Malhotra is a 21-year-old serial entrepreneur and the founder of two startups and one not-for-profit organization including Artophilic. His journey can be tracked to his 2nd year of engineering at the prestigious Delhi College of Engineering, now known as Delhi Technological University.
Ever since, he has come a long way, from working in two startups to eventually launching two of his own – while inspiring many young people to dream bigger and do more. He has inspired many juniors at college by encouraging them to try new things and enabling them to take the big step.
He recently joined hands with Nishtha Jain, a penultimate year student at Hindu College, University of Delhi. Nishtha is the Vice President of the Entrepreneurship Club of her college, owing to which she has been exposed to incubation and consulting projects of a number of startups and diverse social cultures, contributing to a multi-faceted profile. She has also worked with Ernst & Young, and a YC funded startup in the past.
Artophilic is a hyperconnected art-sharing and talent-recognition marketplace that aims to connect art enthusiasts who wish to purchase customized products to young, talented, and credible artists. The network of these student artists in India is currently scattered. There is no platform catering to students where they can find work, interact with like-minded people, collaborate, and share their work. Artists should not be spending time they can use to create art by struggling to connect with individual buyers.
The students have to work on the demand aspect, which is cumbersome and time-consuming. Added to that, most opportunities are full-time, with no flexible working hours, dissuading students from pursuing the field. Similarly, individual buyers should not be worrying about where and how to find good and customized art. This is where Artophilic steps in. By bringing together these two parties, Artophilic increases efficiency in the consumption space. They provide both parties with their needs, with credibility.
The idea and inspiration behind Artophilic
Artophilic’s initial blueprint came out of a coffee shop, on what seemed like an ordinary day. One of Aahan’s friends, a great artist, was showing him some pictures of his latest art on canvas on his phone. Aahan’s instant reaction was to ask him where he sells them. It was just a matter of time when his “where” turned to an “if”, owing to the expression he gave Aahan.
He learned that it wasn’t “profitable” to sell the artwork because what the market is willing to pay does not even come close to the man-hours and quality of material that goes in. Aahan couldn’t stop thinking about it. His mind wandered from a place where he was in shock about his friend not being able to sell what he thought were excellent pieces of art, to wondering how many young and unknown artists were left undiscovered because they were not getting their dues. Aahan let that thought stay for two days and finally decided to do something about it. He carried out a survey, which saw prompt responses. Within three days, he launched EngiArts. After a few months, when he saw it growing and felt it was time to use a more umbrella term, to expand and diversify and rebranded the company as Artophilic.
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Partnerships and Collaborations
Artophilic has come far from where it began. In the little time that it has operated, it has collaborated with three printing vendors in Delhi. The team is in the process of building a community of student artists through collaborations with college’s Art & Photography societies – something Delhi has never seen before.
The team was also able to hold an exhibition displaying some of their finest artworks – during Manisha Koirala’s Delhi book launch. Their experience with stakeholders has so far been revolutionary – They are looking at a positive response and growth trajectory from all ends.
The first milestone for Artophilic
Talking about the first milestone always brings back a childish nostalgia. During the interview with TimesNext, Aahan told us that the first-time adrenaline pumped into his body was when 700 people showed up for their first exhibition, and they made their first-ever profits. When Aahan looks back, he can see how far they have reached, but that day is ingrained in his memory.
The current growth
Artophilic is growing at a modest rate, with deals and leads increasing by the day. They are expanding into their current market while constantly diversifying and exploring new markets. Owing to the first-mover advantage, some pilots have seen remarkably good results, and that number is expected to rise.
So far, Aahan believes that it is safe to say that the idea is getting market validation. There are strong signs for a product-market fit, and that is such a relief for an early-stage startup run by students trying to do their bit to change the world.
Artophilic – The Vision
The team envisions not just to cater to the inefficiencies of demand and supply – but also to create demand. Their long-term objective is to revolutionize the art industry, making photography and art a well-paid profession.