Poles apart yet allies for life, entrepreneurial couple Maushmi and Vineet Dhawan are the perfect match — in the world of business and beyond it. As their dream project dcafé makes big strides in the global OTT domain for more reasons than one, they give us a peek into the dynamic OTT management system’s growth trajectory amid a pandemic.
CHANGES FOR THE GOOD
Affable and visibly optimistic about their journey, Vineet exudes an infectious excitement as he speaks. “We were both involved in different yet specific streams of dcafé and began putting the nuts and bolts of the venture together about three years ago,” he says. “Things were about to go downhill when the second wave of the coronavirus hit us. But it only led to a bigger high. Maushmi and I expected growth in 2023, but things have a way of panning out. We were pushed into a tornado of success much earlier than expected, as the pandemic came upon us and growth in the OTT space accelerated beyond imagination. We expected certain growth and revenue and we saw all of it. The journey has been pretty gratifying.”
Maushmi reveals that the change compelled them to take evolutionary steps to stay ahead of the game. “I was hoping to trickle into the business and take things at my pace, as digital was an unexplored domain personally,” she reveals. “But I had to step up my game in the middle of a global health crisis, which meant jumping three to four steps at a time to figure out the business. It was just as overwhelming as it was exciting. To be there, understand internal communications, create reach and understand market positioning has been difficult; I won’t lie.”
A member of the board, Maushmi also believes that functioning remotely had its upsides. “Working from home wasn’t terrible in its entirety” she adds. “In hindsight, I think running the business together and spending extended periods of time at home with each other kind of helped us grow our business together.”
dcafé management system offers consumers the leeway to launch and monetise streaming services across more than 12 screens, with hassle-free operations being its trump card. “One of the biggest USPs of our product is that it can work with all platforms,” Vineet says. “It’s fuss-free as it configures itself. You don’t really have to be a tech geek to use our services. And most importantly, users can get really experimental and try every possible customised monetizable capability.”
CONNECTING CREATORS TO CONSUMERS
When prodded about how she likes to sum up the essence of the venture, Maushmi tells us in a nutshell, “If you can use a phone, you can use our product because that’s how simple it is.”
Vineet adds along similar lines: “We are dealing with content owners and production houses who may not necessarily have the essence of technology. So we wanted to ensure that people faced no technical complexity while using our product and help them deliver the right content to the right audience with the right presentation.”
As a staunch believer in the OTT culture, Vineet expects the game to only get bigger and better in the long run. “If I were to talk about India in specific, there has been a lot of conditioning in content consumption,” he adds. “If you look at the stats, we do not have too many second television homes. But OTT platforms allow people to access multiple streams of content at one go. Hence OTT platforms are here to stay. It also enables a lot of talent to come out in the open.”
WADING THROUGH TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
Despite the sour turn of events since India was hit by the second wave, Maushmi is grateful for what they were able to achieve. “The pandemic was a challenge in itself, especially when the second wave hit in March and our teams began to fall ill. That was the worst phase,” she says. “Things got delayed as people couldn’t give their 100 per cent. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. I would rather be the devil’s advocate here, but it has worked for us. Performance has increased as people have given a lot more hours.”
Meandering through it all has been nothing short of spectacular for the enterprising couple. “I think we actually sail through failures. They make us extremely strong, despite creating an upheaval within. But we have always moved on, there’s no looking back,” she signs off.