Punkvilla is India’s most popular platform when it comes to Bollywood niche. Nandini Shenoy is the woman behind this content sharing platform. Let’s know the journey of Nandini and how made it big.
Nandini was raised in a Mangalore based family full of talented engineers. After completing her schooling she went on to pursue engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka (NITK). Then she moved to the US for a Master’s in ECE from Rutgers University. In 2004, she landed a job as a software engineer at Microsoft, Redmond.
While working in the US, she felt that no Indian website was helping her in knowing the latest happenings of Bollywood celebrities. So, she decided to make an online community of Bollywood fans. I didn’t have access to Bollywood magazines in the States. I was missing my daily doze. I thought why not create a platform for Bollywood fanatics like myself to be able to have a discussion on Bollywood,” Shenoy told in a recent interview.
The idea was to create a website where any user could register and create posts, an open-to-all forum where people could discuss their favourite stars and movies.
At that time, Orkut was popular. With word of mouth publicity, the platform grew. In 2009, some photos of Sonam Kapoor that were posted on Pinkvilla went viral. Hindustan Times contacted her to use those photos and would a backlink To Pinkvilla. This made her believe that something big is waiting for her.
She left her job and made a team of editors, photographers, built a network of PRs, production houses. By 2010-11, some celebrities wanted to be featured in Pinkvilla as there were not many digital websites at that time. Interestingly, she was doing the interviews of celebs from the US. Knowing the possibilities and her love for Bollywood stars, she created an office in Mumbai.
Being a tech geek, she was keen to make Pinkvilla popular all across the internet.
“Being from the tech background, I knew I had to figure out the SEO first before I decided on the content. If the content works and the SEO doesn’t work, the website can’t work. If Google and other tech platforms don’t understand the content on my website, I will go nowhere. I have to keep evolving because Google keeps changing its algorithms every other day,”
She believes it is very easy to create a website, so competition will always increase in the digital space. She acknowledges her tech background as an advantage, but content undoubtedly comes first.
Brands started contacting Pinkvilla for their promotions and Shenoy got positive for the money she was getting.
I barely slept the first four years after I started Pinkvilla. But the passion kept me going,
she said to a media house recently. The website is profitable and she has signed deals with biggest of the production houses in Bollywood to promote their movies. She wants to keep her loyal users engaged and is looking to expand to other segments such as videos and e-commerce.