Ad Land’s Young Guns: Aayushman Sinha, Founder, Represent
Aayushman Sinha started his entrepreneurial journey at a young age of 18. What started with ticketing for India’s most loved DJs has now translated into a full power agency – REPRESENT. With an artist roster that consists of some of India’s most loved and upcoming talent, Sinha today represents artists like Armaan Malik, Rajakumari, Ananya Birla, Anuv Jain, and DJ Chetas, among others.
That’s not all, Sinha is also the co-founder of BlackCab, a future-looking marketing agency offering services to some of the best brands in the country, including Nexa, CoinDCX, Jio Saavn and lead partnership with Meta as well. Most recently, Sinha also entered the venture capital space with his latest venture – DotIn.
In conversation with Adgully, Aayushman Sinha, Founder, Represent, speaks about his journey with Represent, plans to scale up the agency in the next five years, his favourite personalities, the most productive things that he does, and more.
Tell us about your venture Represent?
Represent and the way it is currently shaping up is almost like a dream come true. We are a company driven and focused on building pop-culture in India and everything we are doing is reflecting that. Represent has multiple pillars, these are – Represent Management (our talent management division that represents the country’s finest musicians in a 360 capacity), RE:PLAY (our agenting division that works with independent artists across the country to help grow their revenue from live events), Consulting (We consult a number of brands on their music and pop culture strategy - most recent was Coke with Memu Aagamu), Label Services (We provide all the services a label provides to our exclusive artists without the various blockers that come up with an actual music label), D2C (We're building our own set of direct-to-consumer products with our artists which goes beyond traditional merchandising but actual value building businesses), our soon-to-be-announced Creator management business and our Investments in an angel capacity in various pop-culture relevant businesses (we have made 3 so far).
Where do you see yourself and Represent in five years’ time?
At Represent, I see all our pillars expanding into more detailed and thorough business units, each becoming market leaders in their various categories. I see our D2C wing in particular becoming a Thrasio format hub for artist and creator lead brands emerging in the product market. My dream has been to set up a full service artist incubator in which we can not just manage, but also heavily invest capital in grooming and building the next wave of artists and we will focus our energies in developing capital to support this.
For myself, I've always treated Represent as the outlet through which I am able to explore more parts of business which might be new to me, I see myself continuing to stay inquisitive and exploring more avenues that add value to us and our creative ecosystem. I also see myself surrounded by an incredible team of business heads leading and co-building our vision with us.
What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table to excel in your venture?
At my business, in particular, the skill sets I put most to use are growth strategy, marketing, network building and the most important for our artists is the ability to empathise. I believe in building on the power and back of an incredible team and I try hiring professionals to add value in areas of their best expertise while acting as a generalist myself. Over the next few months I am taking a keen interest in financial modelling as we’ve now built various profit centres and I would love to understand how we can maximise opportunity from a financial POV on these.
Icons in this field whom you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
I look up to an incredible bunch of individuals, but have unfortunately not been part of a mentorship journey. I have, however, studied their journey and tried to see how they have done things and what are the best learnings to take away from them.
Listing a few of my favourite personalities below whom I deeply admire:
Are there any artists on your wishlist that you would like to work with in the future?
I love my current roster and I am content with the kind of artists we work with, we are committed to building them and at present we don’t have bandwidth to sign more talent either. There’s few that aren’t with us currently and we’d love to work with them sometime in the future, however they are with other agencies and it is up to destiny if our paths cross. We, as a practise, don’t poach talent.
What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Do your studying before you decide to dive into it, because it looks good on the outside. Thousands are employed in this industry, but very few see growth, and those are the ones that understand the business of music and entertainment more than just executing what is asked of them. It’s a great time for music and events and the economies are getting better too – think of how you can add innovation to help further scale our current industry.
What does it take to succeed in a career? What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
I wouldn’t term us as successful just as yet, we will probably reach that stage in 2 years when we are in a most established space, however, the few most productive things that I do are:
- I calendar every single meeting to ensure I know exactly what my day looks like
- I spend half an hour everyday just thinking of how we can do things better; sometimes good ideas come, sometimes they don’t, the idea is to just lock time to think
- I have an OCD when it comes to notifications, so I clean out my inbox every day responding to all the mails I feel are relevant and use tools like Superhuman to make this quicker. I also make it a point to read every text I get before going to bed to ensure I don’t wake up to a notification overload
- I spend around half an hour everyday communicating with my closest friends in whatever format possible, sometimes it is just sharing memes and that’s fine too. It it helps me stay in balance.