This Mumbai-based startup is helping fans connect with celebrities

From when we were little, our favorite celebrities have always occupied a tiny part of our lives. From something as innocent as pasting posters in the bedroom, or copying hairstyles, some fans take their fandom to the extreme by even building temples in their names – all in the hope that someday they will meet their favorite celebrities.

Enter Mumbai-based CELEWISH – a phygital meet and greet platform that has onboarded more than 1,500 influencers, actors, sportspersons, singers, and musicians – both national and international.

Founded in 2021 by brothers Mohsin Khan and Anvarul Hasan, the startup helps fans meet their favorite celebrities over a cup of coffee. It also allows end-users and brands for personalized and/or commercial video shoutouts, Instagram direct-messages wishes, and skill learning from celebrities. Fans can book these services in exchange for a fee that ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 20,000.

Some of the popular names associated with Celewish include wrestler and MMA fighter Ritu Phogat, music composer duo Salim and Sulayman Merchantveteran actor Prem Chopraand international actors including Enrique Arce who played the character Arturo Roman in the Netflix series Money Heist.

Today, Celewish has more than 1.6 lakh registered users and over 500 brands associated with them. It has successfully hosted over 2,000 video shoutouts for fans and more than 150 brand endorsements with top artists, including film producer Karan Johar (IITIIMShaadi.com) and actor Govinda (Amani Mobile Accessories).

Some other brands that the platform has cooperated with include Biryani By Kilo, Behrouz Biryani, Nivea, Godrej, and Dream11.

The bootstrapped company has generated around Rs 10 lakh revenue as of March 2021 as per the RoC filings made by the organisation. In the past financial year, the startup claims to have scaled its revenue to over Rs 1 crore by extending its collaborations with more brands and influencers.

How does it work

The platform is fairly simple to use. After registering, the user can search for their favorite celebrity with whom they want to connect. They have a few options as to how they want to engage – a virtual or physical meet-and-greet, personalized birthday, getting marriage wishes on Instagram, or virtual endorsement of their brand. The costs for the services are mentioned along with the profile for the user’s clarity, like any other ecommerce platform.

Mohsin and his team of 18 members Make sure that meet-and-greet is hassle-free for both the celebrity and fans. Before the meet, the team runs a background check on the fans, fixes the date and venue at a five–star hotel, and sponsors the travel for both parties.

Commenting on her collaboration with Celewish, actor Tanaaz Ahmed tells YourStory, “Celewish is a safe platform for us to meet our fans. Although it is a fairly novel concept, with the help of adequate advertising and funding, it can sustain and thrive in the long run.”

Celewish

More than meet-and-greet

For a long time, Mohsin has worked closely with the brand marketing industry. His brother Anvarul is also an influencer. Together, they identified the gap that existed between celebrities and brands, and decided to bridge it.

“Many brands do not have the proper links to reach out to these celebrities. Not everyone can get hold of a celeb’s manager through a Google search. Celewish helps brands directly connect with the celebrity. Both the celeb and the brand can save a significant amount of time and energy,” says Mohsin, Founder and CEO of Celewish.

The brothers decided to use the contacts that they acquired across the influencer spectrum, brands, and Bollywood to spread the word about Celewish.

As influencer marketing takes a stronghold in the industry, Mohsin believes brands need to adopt platforms such as Celewish to find the right faces for endorsing their brands.

Mohsin says that the platform also provides financial support to celebrities who did not have a stable source of income during the pandemic.

“Many celebrities lost projects and their shows got canceled. The platform provides them at least some amount of financial support and encourages them to continue with their creativity,” he adds.

Industry perspective and future

Celewish launched a new service called Master Classes by Celebrities on April 22, 2022. Under the service, users can learn skills from their favorite celebrities from all the fields through virtual classes. Within a month of its launch, it has garnered more than 150 enquiries. Mohsin feels that this feature distinguishes itself from its market competitors including Tring, StarClinchand Gilmore.

In the coming days, Celewish plans to onboard more international celebrities while scaling its meet and greet platform and masterclasses.

According to Markets and Markets, the global influencer marketing platform market size would grow from $6 billion in 2020 to $24.1 billion by 2025at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 32 percent during the forecast period.

Mohsin feels that this is a great opportunity for Celewish to grow and become the preferred platform for brands and celebrities to tap into the potential of influencer marketing and bridge the gap between celebrities and their fans.

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