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Indian crowdsourcing-platform JadeMagnet bets on franchising to fuel its growth

23 November 2011

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Manik Kinra, on the left, is Chief Marketing Officer of Jade Magnet (via businesstoday.com)

Today, renown graphic design platforms include Crowdspring (USA), Creads (France), 99designs or Designcrowd (both Australia). An Indian challenger, who recently expanded to the US, the UK and is making inroads into the Middle-East, is pushing with a community of 15,000 creatives – and an innovative growth model. I talked to Manik Kinra, who founded Jade Magnet about two years ago with his friend Sitashwa Srivastava. Here are some excerpts of an interesting conversation about crowdsourcing, local cultural knowledge and ambitions for growth.

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A jade is a precious stone and we wanted to say that all stakeholders on the platform are as precious as jade […] so as a platform we behave like a magnet (Manik Kinra)

Jade Magnet is a crowdsourcing-platform for creative tasks like graphic or ad desing. “Jade Magnet is working to bring a paradigm shift in the way creative services are delivered“, their website says – crowdsourcing definitely is one in this sector! Jade Magnet focuses on small- and medium-sized businesses which seek design jobs done at a low price point. The Economic Times quotes Sitash Shrivastav, Jade Magnet’s other founder, by saying that “a service like his, which gives values-for-money creative solutions, is just what Western clients are looking for“.

But Jade Magnet’s strength is also its local knowledge. They’ve spent a lot of time in evangelization about crowdsourcing: “it is a very new concept, especially for the Indian market“, Manik said 3 months ago on Youth Ki Awaaz. But how are they different from existing platforms, like the ones cited in the introduction? According to Manik, Jade Magnet is different because:

(1) we also provide complex solutions like website development or animation

(2) we’re not automated but have a delivery model [by which account managers] handle different projects for clients

(3) we are focused towards growth economies like India or the Middle-East

Jade Magnet intends to become the top creative destination for small and medium businesses across world markets” their website says. How do they achieve that? A model that uses independent franchisees who can handle client accounts, for a slice of the profits.In other words, they have people who bring in business and are somehow ‘held at armlength’ through the platform and the training program (see below)

An Economic Times article dedicated to Jade Magnet says that “top on the agenda is to beef up deliverability capabilities across geographies and diverse work in addition to training the provider network“. If you want to have an Account Manager’s point of view check out this interview of Gaurav from New Delhi. Gaurav is MBA-student in an Indian business school and brings in business for the platform, mainly in “sectors including Real Estate, Consulting Firms, Educational Institutes, Telecom Companies“, he says. Jade Magnet has 30+ of these business providers to date, and they can have diverse profiles:

They could be guys with small agencies and all of a sudden their client asks for digital solution that they can’t provide, or marketing consultants who are only advising and moving out at execution stage, or could real estate consultants with deep relationships with real estate folks…

Manik told me that this type of sales structure allows Jade Magnet to be closer to clients by being culturally more relevant to them. For example, local knowledge covers topics such as language or cultural aspects. “For example:  in the Middle East the colors used by people are bright – in the US the same might seem gawdy”, Manik says. He thinks that “growing locally is important especially from a creative angle“. Great conclusion!

Let me finish with a funny answer that Manik gave to the people from YourStory.in in an interview about their entrepreneurial success:

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Jade Magnet is the second largest crowdsourcing network... after democracy 😉

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