Today we have with us the CEO of TopBeat , Shubham Bansal. He was born into a family of business owners in Kota, Rajasthan. In 2012, he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from IIT Bombay. Yet it wasn’t easy getting here. He failed the IIT admission exam on his first try, but his persistence paid off, and he passed on his second try.
After finishing college, He understood that studying music was more than a side interest. It’s an important talent to have because it helps with both inspiration and focus. Also, He thought that a lot of individuals were interested in studying music. I set out to address the fact that many people are able to teach music but very few are able to actually learn it, and here we are, two years later, still working on the same issue.
A small introduction about Shubham Bansal
I am Shubham Bansal, founder and CEO of Topbeat and Guitar Bro. The idea of both of these companies is to make it easy, fun and accessible for people to learn music of any age irrespective of what their location is, what their geography is and what their resources are.
So with Topbeat, what we do is we basically teach kids between the age of 5 to 15 years and we provide live classes.
It’s a very innovative tool which any one can attach on guitar. It comes with a complete pack. This is a patented product. It makes learning super fun and easy for anyone to learn guitar. I have been a musician myself, I started learning guitar when I was six years old, and it gives me a lot of pleasure to help people to learn music. Music has always been an important part of my life.
I went to, IIT, Bombay, and when I was in IIT, I always played, performed, composed, sang guitar, and in IIT, I got a lot of chance to perform, learn, collaborate with other people. I used to compose, and at the same time, I started teaching my friends. And when I graduated in 2012, I did a couple of jobs. So at that point of time, also, I kept on teaching just to be close to my passion. Fast forwarding almost ten years down the line.
After graduating, I realized that music learning is not just a hobby anymore. It’s a life skill because it enhances your creativity and Concentration. And I felt that a lot of people wanted to learn music. A lot of people can teach music, but the number of people who successfully learn music are very less, So I wanted to solve that problem, and that’s how it started, and here we are it’s been two years since we have been solving this problem.
Do you think music is important to everyone?
I believe music is a must. I can give you a lot of examples. Anecdotal examples. Sound is something which is so fundamental to humans. Rhythm, beat, heartbeat, breathing patterns, be it your sleep cycle. Beat and rhythm are very important.
And when you listen to music, when you play music, it directly affects your concentration. One of our parent consumers said to us that in order to learn music, you need to concentrate. So music helps you concentrate basically.
So in order to improve your concentration, you need to listen to someone closely. And when you learn music, you have to listen very closely. So it enhances your ability to concentrate and listen, that’s the power of music. I believe irrespective of whether you are an engineer or CA whatever field you are in there’s a necessity for today’s generation to enhance their creativity, and music gives you a whole sole way to enhance your creativity as music is a very wholesome activity.
Can AI be helpful for you to teach music?
Yes, absolutely as there are already a lot of tools which are generating music, in which you just need to tell what kind of beat or moos you want and they will generate a original track for you. That is already being achieved through the advancement of technology. I also believe that AI can help you learn music because a very important part of music learning is practise and the feedback you get while playing music. It gives you a real time feedback on how u are performing and growth of one can be tracked by AI.
In future maybe it can understand are you on the right track/rhythm or not, so Yes AI is very helpful and in Future it will be more helpful in music industry.
Share with us your experience of building TopBeat as a well-known Brand
It has a been journey of ups & downs, we figured out a lot of problems and faced them, there’s no doubt a lot of competition, but the problem still remains unsolved, a lot of teachers teach individually, there are a lot of company teaching online and all. According to our data 97% of children loose interest in 1st couple of months, but through our innovation, curriculum and teachings we have been able to ensure that 85% of our children complete 12 months of course also if I talk about guitar bro, our hardware product, it generally takes 5-6 months of learning all the cords of guitar, but through this product we’ll be able to solve a lot of problem of students, like travelling, value for money, one time purchase and you can learn basis of guitar in 30 days, using our product Guitar Bro. It’s been a fun journey and we have got a lot to achieve ahead.
Share with us your Learning’s being a Founder
I think as a founder you get to learn every day, every moment but if I have to re frame the question it would be how one should decide whether entrepreneurship is for you or not?
So I think the best way to get the best answer would be to think if you’ll be okay if you get failure after 3 years, after working for 2-3 years there’s a probability of you been under debit, loans and all and if you are okay with all this, then you should really start.
Apart from that there are a lot of business learnings like you need to find a perfect target audience for your product or your products market fit at the initial stage, it’s important to have a good team, to learn how to hire people, train them and many more learnings like these.
We through our research found out that you train especially abled children’s, tell us more on how you do that?
I would like to share with you a story of one of my students, Prathmesh, He appeared on Shark Tank season 1. He is visually impaired, he lost his vision when he was 12 months old and now he’s 11, we started giving first offline learning to him but he couldn’t understand properly so we took it as a challenge and now he is learning and growing, I think it is all because of the teacher’s learnings and our curriculum, our regular contact with the parents to ensure that each and every child gets a personalize attention.
Do you believe mentors play an important role in building a business?
Yes definitely I think they play a very important role, if I look back at my life I have seen a lot of failure and every time I was lucky and Fortunate to get good mentors, be it tuition / coaching teachers, fellow mates who helps you brainstorming the ideas, be it close friends who are available whenever you need them or be it you family and wife, I have always being very lucky to have right people around me, so If I would have any problem they always were there in my support. Even Sachin Tendulkar had a mentor, his coach, I think If the god of Cricket needs a Coach then we are just mortals. So I think Mentors / Coach is a must for everyone out there for every problem.
According to you what one should take care of while growing the business?
It is very underrated and nowadays no one talks about it but I think the 1st and the foremost thing, not just entrepreneur but even any early stage founder, it is very tempting to put your health in the first place, even I made that mistake, but I think as a founder you always have to have your energy at the right place no matter what. Energy is one thing which come out with workout, right nutrition, sleep balance and all because when you invest 1 hr on a daily basis for your physical health is a very good thing.
second is Constant learning, I read alot I keep on enrolling for courses online, because the market is changing rapidly and you need to keep up with that, many founders ignore these. obviously not over doing this, but keeping a track of everything is very important. I think managing your health and educating yourself is very important and then also no one talks about.
How technology has helped you building this brand?
I think even if technology was not so advanced wouldn’t be able to build a brand and I think why people had to go to classes is because online learning was not there, so offline is very rageful and you often need to spend money while travelling and a lot of time waste occurs in this process, now we are able to solve this problem easily and can teach children at their home comfort and even students like Prathmesh with such a ease, and we have taught more than 2000 students in last 2 years across 4 country, so technology really helps you learn anything & anywhere.
Was it difficult to raise funds for your business?
It takes times, it’s not difficult if you have the right product or if you are really solving a problem then it will be easy for you to raise funds, you can even raise funds from your close friends & family and if a founder is not able to convince their closest of friends and family that means that the product is not good or how will you convince the investors to invest when you can’t raise funds or convince your friends & family. One should not thing that only VC & investors are good to go, even raising funds from close friends is a great option. You shouldn’t shy away from asking for funds in your business from your close friends, I raised funds from my closest of friends only.
A piece of advice for unique startups like yours
I would say do something about which you are passionate or you closely relate to, so my previous startup was into laundry service and we could not work that out, I think one of the reasons were that I was not passionate about laundry so I couldn’t relate that closely on that, but Music, it is something I’m very passionate about and It will take a lot of time to grow that business, 10-15 years maximum, so choose something that you are passionate about or aware very nicely about, don’t get driven by the market trends.
Apart from India you are internationally a brand also, so tell us more about how you expanded?
When we were teaching kids in India, we use to get a lot of enquiry about international teachings & classes as they wanted to learn, so we started our brand globally also and now we have 500 children from 4 different countries like UAE, Germany, Singapore and US and students from different nationalities, so our system is suited for any system and any locality and TopBeat is now scaling internationally as well.