UPES students build a brand to provide affordable anime merchandise

By EKTA KASHYAP
20 April 2022

Dev Taneja, who is pursuing Electronics and Communication Engineering from UPES, co-founded ‘Anime Devta’ with Higmanshu Goswami, a student at UPES School of Design, to provide affordable anime merchandise to the youth. Their start-up has received a funding of INR 15 lakh through the Runway Incubator

In the early 2000s, children and young adults eagerly awaited the weekend to watch their favourite Japanese anime television series Pokémon. Short for Pocket Monsters, Pokémon is credited with making anime familiar and a mainstream success around the world. The fandom was such that in the United States, the two highest-grossing anime films were both Pokémon films. In India, along with the series, Pokémon games and merchandise became a mega-hit.

However, it was Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book’ created by Japan-based Nippon animation that introduced anime to India. Since then, the love for anime has only grown among people. Shows like Attack on Titan, Naruto and Dragon Ball Z are popular among the youngsters. This popularity has created a rise in demand for anime merchandise. 

While several inland stores sell anime accessories, their prices are higher than what an average teen can afford. Sensing the need for affordable anime merchandise, UPES students Dev Taneja from School of Engineering and Himangshu Goswami from School of Design, founded ‘Anime Devta’ to provide unique anime and graphic merchandise at pocket-friendly prices.

Dev, who is currently pursuing Electronics and Communication Engineering, has always been fascinated by anime and wanted to build a brand the youth could afford. He says, “From 14 to 18 years of age, anime like Naruto and Onepiece taught me lessons like ‘never give up’ and ‘hard work beats talent’. I have been a YouTube creator for almost two years. I used to give my opinions on different anime, review them, and promote anime merch of other companies on my channel. After analysing the pros and cons of India’s top anime merch companies, I decided to make a brand of my own. Devta is short for Dev Taneja. The goal was to provide people with India’s most affordable and best quality anime merchandise.”

However, there are already well-established brands in this sector. How does Anime Devta differentiate itself from the competition? “Our priority is to ‘serve’ people. Our main audience is students from age 15 to 24. Most of them are dependent on their parents for monthly expenses. And purchasing anime merch from renowned brands in India can take months of pocket money. We have cut the existing market rates by 50-60% while maintaining better quality than many anime merch companies in the country,” says Dev.

The start-up markets its products through its website animedevta.com and Instagram handle @anime_devta so there is barely any marketing cost involved. It also recently received a funding of INR 15 lakh from investor Rahul Narvekar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The India Network, through the Runway Incubator.

Where does he plan to spend the money? Dev says, “We are planning to get guidance from our investors and the Runway team. We want to create a 360-degree model so that we become completely independent. We plan to set up our warehouses and printing areas so that we do not have to rely on anyone for anything.”

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