Pulkit Agrawal for The Termsheet Podcast

Building India’s #1 Lifestyle Video App Trell – Pulkit Agrawal?

Episode 3

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Trell – Quintessentially Indian

Trell started as a local discovery app long before TikTok has ventured into India and grown by leaps and bounds. While Trell has gained a lot of new users after the shock ban of Chinese apps, it comes as a surprise to many that Trell has been doing exceptionally well even before this.  

Unlike TikTok and other Indian look-a-likes Trell is not just about short videos for entertainment. In fact, the team at Trell have meticulously developed a strong platform for micro-influencers or Trellers as they would like to call them. These Trellers create 3-5 minute short videos across categories such as beauty, health, fashion, wellness and many more.

The team at Trell were able to generate this highly sticky platform with over 75 million downloads and 25 million MAUs, by offering the creators the tools necessary to produce content that is relevant and local. In fact, Pinterest did the same to pictures in the United States.

In two sided platforms like Trell, network effects are critical. Trell incentivized the Creator side of the platform by providing a superior experience for creators create short videos quickly without compromising on the quality. As more and more Creators flocked to the platform, they brought with them their followers leading to enhanced cross-network effects. As more and more users came on board this lead to a snowballing effect which made Trell the heavy weight it is today.

First Impressions

I’ve personally known the founders of Trell, Pulkit Agrawal and Prashant Sachan for almost 3 years now. And, Vinod Kumar Shankar, my partner at Java Capital was one of the first ardent supporters and angel investors of the startup. Trell is in the news for all the right reasons now; The company raised a large Series A from the likes of Sequoia, KTB Partners and others. But, it has not been a cake walk for the founding team.

Hundreds, yes literally hundreds, of investors said no. They questioned the need for a social media/commerce app from India when there are the likes of Whatsapp and Facebook. The team has weathered many storms around funding and at times false starts. But, every time they figured a way forward. And, a lot of the credit goes to Pulkit and his co-founders. If you talk to Pulkit you wouldn’t have guessed the amount of stress he had gone through and he is surprisingly respectful of all the naysayers before.

In this episode…

I spoke with Pulkit about why he chose this arduous journey and why he stuck with it despite the many setbacks. We also discussed about who influenced him and why he is passionate about this whole journey. Do not miss this heart-warming conversation.

Do checkout some of the previous episodes with PC Musthafa of ID Fresh Food & Sameer Maheshwari of Healthkart.

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