KOCHI: They twirled their empty drink containers absent-mindedly, deeply engrossed in a private conversation on its polymer properties. A gamut of chemical names flew threw the air before the four polymer engineering students remembered that they were present to share the latest on the ‘spicy’ affair in their lives - Tabasco Media.
Only four months old, Tabasco Media is the latest offering from the nascent student start-ups scene in Kochi and is already laughing its way to the teller with a five figure ledger balance. With a tag line that reads ‘the hot, legendary 42” HD pepper sauce. Served’, the media company creates original creatives and designs for businesses. And the firm does full justice to the clan of student-startups as its core team of four find themselves answering roll call every morning at Cusat! And take note, they are ‘full pass’ students at the end of four semesters and that, for them, is a Herculean feat.
Who could have imagined that a legendary pepper sauce could serve as a ‘repository of ideas and a vehicle for ambitions’! Well, they did.
Meet the CEO - Geevarghese George (Gee), former graduate in maintaining a tech blog with copy-pasted content. And for the larger good of society, he moved on to better things in life and how!
Says Gee, “My copy-paste blog (yes, I admit it) was hacked and then I was jack-of-all-trades for a long time. When I moved to college, I began blogging about my school friends through a series called TWIST and I did not spare them as I told it all.” Gee has loved, lost,moved on and is currently in a relationship with his D-SLR camera. "With TWIST - Totally Wasted In Someone’s Tabasco, I got my passport to fame. Now, we are 10 TWISTs old and going strong,” he laughs.
Things literally got a ‘twist’ when Syed Mohammed Sajl (you need to know Sajl in Arabic means ‘record-holder’) aka SMS, the operations officer, decided to ‘tap’ Gee’s potential. The CFO* (Chief Financial Officer) - Basil C Alias, the man with the contacts and deep pockets, was roped in. And the crew was completed by a fourth man who literally lives life on a song - Irthasa Aazem, marketing officer and lead vocalist of metal band, Perfect Equations.
Together, they floated Tabasco Media with a vision to break traditions in digital creatives. Creatives proved to be their cup of tea as offers for designs for college events trickled in. Soon the ‘Tabascos’ (their nickname in college) found themselves working on demo posters for movies like Spanish Masala and Padmashree Dr Saroj Kumar. Their poster for the latter was even erected at the Kaloor Bus stand they say, and it is difficult to miss the puffed-up chests.
The ` 3 hike in the price of parotta bothers Sajl more than government and wardrobe malfunctions.
Fresh from writing their fourth semester exams at Cusat and while the age old fear of falling short hangs in the air, Sajl shares his concerns, “We are ‘full pass’ students so far but it is a constant juggle between toiling at a degree and being entrepreneurs. We are self-made men in that we built the firm from ground zero and as students, we had only ourselves to rely on.” Adds Basil, “There is an image disconnect when we meet prospective clients as our polymer engineering background doesn’t gel with our creative pursuits. But we are undaunted as our excellent friends circles ensure that we never have to shut shop.”
They have come a long way from editing Facebook profile pictures for friends, they joke. Tabasco Media is currently collaborating with ThoughtBox, Home Shikari, K K Marketers and Piezo Corp (another student startup from Model Engineering College) on creative content. With plans to start an exclusive polymer fest and more projects in the pipeline, the foursome have a full platter. On a parting note, Sajl hopes that some aspect of their project would inspire students to launch their ideas to which Gee quipped, “Every child is an artist.”