6 Creative Companies From Bangalore You Would Want To Work At

6 Creative Companies From Bangalore You Would Want To Work At

Like entrepreneurs all over the world, founders of creative companies in Bangalore are mavericks on a quest to create entities that are deeply rooted in personal values, dealing with issues that resonate deeply with the creators. Zeroing in on in-between spaces which have somehow been overlooked, these are the pathbreakers stepping up to fill in these spaces with earnest passion and a relentless drive.

Whether it’s immersive travel plans for special interest communities, preserving the sacred hundred-year-old legacy of cultivating coffee, or the eternal hunt for happiness, the landscape in Bangalore is rife with opportunities, and there are many curious minds more than happy to explore them.

Here are some of them:

I. 1000 Petals: Science meets Spirituality

39-year-old Amitabh Swetta has been a meditation facilitator internationally, and decided one day, that he needed to open a place which catered to people in the city who are constantly ‘seeking’; caught in a cycle of materialistic pursuits and consumerism.

“In today’s day and age, we all are looking outwards to happiness and finding things which make us happy momentarily,” he says. “We are constantly seeking, seeking and seeking. We are constantly running behind one thing, or another. Looking closely at this constant ‘monkey mind’, shifting from one place to another, we begin to think, when will I be at peace with myself?”

To answer this important question, Amitabh Swetta has created a space that is located in the heart of the city, where one can come, shut off their social media feed, the external and internal ‘monkey mind’, and all the outside world, and get completely rejuvenated mind, body and soul, and carry that feeling with them the whole week.

‘Watch this video shot by The Vibe for an in-depth understanding’

Having opened just a week back, the centre for meditation also gives patrons the space to be creative with paints, music or whatever you feel like. Moving to Bangalore from his ‘natural habitat’ of Mumbai to challenge himself further, Amitabh’s initiative provides you with varied practices of meditation like the Vipassana, Isha, Daily classes and workshops range from traditional yoga styles of Classical Hatha, Vinyasa , Pranayama, Restorative, Iyengar, Yin & Anusara. Other modalities include OSHO Kundalini, OSHO Nadabrambha, OSHO Devavani, OSHO Neo Vipassana, OSHO Gaurishankar, Tibetan healing arts meditations, Sound Medicine and Ecstatic Dance.

1000 Petals also has their signature meditations under the Lucia Light machine, which uses a combination of flashing and constant light, that stimulates the mind to help it achieve the state of consciousness that you experience right before you fall asleep or wake up, known as hypnagogia; a bridge between the worlds of dreams and reality. There’s also ‘floating’, commonly referred to as Floatation Therapy or Sensory Reduction/ Deprivation; this involves lying in a pod with 10 inches of water containing a highly concentrated Epsom salt solution (600kg of magnesium sulphate), which creates the buoyancy for you to float effortlessly. The water is heated to your skin temperature so after a while the sensation of your body dissolves and you feel weightless, a form of peaceful rest that enhances your ability to be mindful, cognitive and introspective.

To the many skeptics as far as the ‘New Age’ therapies are concerned, Amitabh would like to say, “It’s like you trying skydiving the first time ever. To overcome those fears, to overcome anxiety about something, you need to push the fear and skepticism out of your way, and try things at least once. SAY YES! The universe opens with abundance.

“Meditation can give you lesser stress, less anxiety, better sleep, better sex life, more focus, less clutter in mind and in life, increase creativity, lets you do more work in lesser time and many other things.”

On other interests

“Meditation and celebration.”

The Backdrop

Amitabh Swetta has always been in the field of giving people happiness. He used to own a chain of gyms, which made a lot of people fitter and happier. Somewhere during that time, he realised that the fitness had to be holistic in nature. He used to use a lot of Holistic techniques to help his clients feel great about themselves, inside and out; it was never a quest for six pack abs for him.

He eventually went on to sell his gym business, and turned to music production and DJing, but he was nagged by a constant feeling that even though he was promoting active meditation through dance, people needed much more than that momentary happiness.

This was when he was introduced to many ,masters through books and documentaries; he began meditating but the results were negligible. One day at OSHO, Pune, during a meditation, something inexplicable happened — inexplicable because he says, “You cannot explain the phenomenon of awakening; you, yourself, will have to go through the process to understand it.”

He then went on to work as a facilitator at OSHO for many years, and was introduced to the Lucia Light Machine, which he knew immediately would work beyond belief. Amitabh then went to Austria to become a trained light attendant with Lucia, and came back with the light machine. He was introduced, there, to a Floatation center, and after an hour and half in the floatation tank, he knew exactly the direction he had to go in.

On what makes his company special

“At 1000 petals, you can come, relax, meditate and create; here, you are just minutes away from experiencing a new dimension of consciousness and relaxation.”

On the most important lesson he’s learned while running the company

“Be humble, be patient, and be forgiving.”

On a typical day in office

“It’s hardly an office, and people from all walks of life come to the centre, to experience their true self and learn the forgotten art of meditation.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Quinoa salads and lavender Early Grey tea.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“Me! (laughs) Or Gautam Buddha.”

[Follow 1000 Petals on Facebook & Twitter]

II. Between Spaces: Passionate, Detail-oriented, Responsible

36-year-old Pramod Jaiswal and 32-year-old Divya E, both of whom have a Bachelor’s in Architecture, started the architecture and design firm in 2010, as ‘a natural progression from having received enough work experience from previous employments’.

“We had similar work ethics and ideas about architectural practice, and a strong friendship to withstand differences,” the co-founders say. “We started in a small, 10 ft X 10 ft space in Divya’s father’s office, with one apartment interior project. Today, we have our own space which itself has won multiple awards for its design. We are a small and dedicated team, and our portfolio includes various projects like residential, institutional and commercial.”

On what makes their company special

“Our work is an expression of our beliefs, and as architects, we endeavour to create buildings that are respectable, responsible, and makes living comfortable and gratifying.”

The Backdrop

Pramod Jaiswal, the Founding Partner and Principal Architect, Pramod graduated from Bangalore Institute of Technology, Bangalore. He trained under V.K. Giridhar and worked with Hundredhands from 2005 to 2011, where he had the opportunity to work on some award-winning projects and competition projects.

He has been visiting faculty at BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, Dayanand Sagar College of Engineering and R V College of Architecture, Bangalore since 2010, where he enjoys sharing ‘his treasure trove of knowledge gathered over the last 12 years’.

With a keen sense of detailing, he is always exploring idioms that makes Architecture expressive, meaningful, and sensitive to its context.

Divya Ethirajan, the other Founding Partner and Principal Architect, graduated from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, and her Architectural Thesis on ‘Rejuvenation of Russell Market’, Bangalore, won the all-India best thesis award in 2007, at National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture (NIASA). Divya has interned with Arya Architects in Ahmedabad, and continued working there post her graduation, before going on to work with with Hundredhands from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, she teamed up with Pramod Jaiswal to start Between Spaces.

Her keen sense of punctuality, simplicity and immense patience has been instrumental in developing the ethos of the practice; and while you will always find her smiling, she is a multi-tasker through and through.

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“When you set out on a long journey, don’t count the number of thorns you will encounter on your path. They are just the reality checks and indications, to tell an individual about so many things they didn’t know about until then, and shows them how much they have to learn. Patience is another virtue a design entrepreneur has to have.”

On a typical day in office

“We don’t have fixed rules, and the nature of our work makes each day different. Typically, our day starts at 9:30-10:00am in office. We discuss the project schedule and deadlines with respective seniors, and aim to finish it by 6:30-7:00pm. Most of us are at site meetings 2-3 days a week. The work environment in office is very informal; and everyone enjoys tea and lunch breaks.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“People try out different places for lunch everyday.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Samosa and chai.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“An elephant — because they are intelligent, hardworking and loyal to their herd.”

III. Byond Travel: Colourful, creative, passionate.

Vikram, a serial-entrepreneur with global experience in building and leading startups in e-commerce and travel, is currently the founder of Byond Travel, a platform which organises and leads immersive journeys in over 50 countries for independent and special interest communities including women’s only, self-drive adventures, health & yoga, mom & kids, cycling groups and more.

“In 2011, I spent a week at Burning Man with a group of forty complete strangers, and I returned from the festival with tons of new friends and stories,” he recalls. “The idea that a bunch of complete strangers could develop such strong connections, purely based on a shared travel experience, stuck. It took me four years to be able to finally circle back on this initial idea of community-led travel, which would bring together my personal passion for travelling (both my parents were in the Indian Navy, and I’ve been on the road since I can remember) and an understanding of the business side of the travel industry (learnt the hard way through a couple of successful startup stints, including an acquisition in 2013), and Byond Travel was born.”

Starting out with a simple mission to promote experiential travel by creating journeys which were immersive, through interactions with local arts, music, culture and communities, they managed to organise their first trip — a small women-only group that visited Jordan. The response and feedback for the trip was phenomenal, and they have been able to expand the business to nine different categories, and develop content across channels, including virtual reality. “With a shared passion for theatre, my wife and I also launched ‘The Lime Diaries’ with Byond, which brought a performance aspect to travel-themed storytelling,” Vikram says. “The ‘Lime Diaries’ is now one of our most successful initiatives.”

On what makes the company special

“We dream big, work hard together with a smart, passionate, quirky bunch, and get paid to travel around the world.”

The Backstory

Vikram’s previous entrepreneurial experiences include building the Middle-East’s largest daily deals company, Cobone (acquired in 2013) and Triperna, in the travel space. Vikram has also previously worked as a Management & Technology Consultant, focusing on business strategy and transformation for several Fortune 100 companies working across three continents.

He is also an award-winning short film-maker, and has multiple theatrical performances to his name as an actor/director/writer. Vikram has also represented India at the Asian Open Salsa Championships and has won multiple dance championships, besides being the Founder and Partner @Kyron, a leading startup accelerator and fund, focused on connecting startups with Fortune 50 companies.

On the most important lesson he has learned while running the company

“It’s all about the people. Your team, your customers, your partners. If you can build a level of understanding and trust within your team, understand their personal and professional motivations, and empower them to make your vision their own, then you win.

“We’re also manically particular about the smallest of details with anything customer-related. Our travellers put a lot of faith and time in us to bring their dreams to life, and we’re constantly challenging ourselves with ways to surprise them, and to ensure their trust is well-placed. We have a strict 100%-refund policy, for example, anytime we feel we’ve failed to live up to our own standards, and we always have someone from our team travelling with our group to make sure everything is planned properly. And finally, we value and trust our partners in over 50 countries, and try hard to keep them happy. If they’re happy, our customers are happy — and that means a lot.”

On a typical day in office

“Our team trickles in post 8:30am, with everyone having a different start time everyday, but 10:30 am is our team standup; where the entire team (including our Delhi office) does a quick 15 minute catch-up on wins from the previous day, and any priorities for the current day. With so much happening every day, the stand up is crucial for us to all be in on the same page.

“Our sales and marketing teams then take stock of our existing campaigns, and begin reaching out any inbound enquiries we might have received about our upcoming journeys around the world. At any given time, we are running up to six different campaigns, so there’s usually lots happening. Our product teams might schedule a quick review session, where we all sit and discuss destinations and experiences that we might want to build into an upcoming trip.

“We have an in-house video and production studio, which develops video and Virtual Reality content, and the related creative work takes up some of my time. There’s constantly music playing in the background, or animated discussions. We’re also completely transparent with our decision-making and when needed, the team will huddle to debate an upcoming strategic decision or brainstorm ideas for our next ‘Lime Diaries’ speakers.

“We have a makeshift cricket pitch in the office as well, and an inflatable shark. Some evenings, we play charades or screen a movie on our projector screen. A few times in the week, as a team or in smaller groups, we will usually step out for drinks or dinner.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Meghana Biryani. Made from the tears of our competitors.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“It’s a toss-up between Diddy, my cat, and our inflatable shark which floats around the office.”

IV. Chill Panther: Unexpected, Straightforward, Timely.

Angad Choudhry, who has a background in creative writing and advertising, and Dhruv Choudhry, from a film background, are two brothers who, disgruntled by the industry, decided to move back home to Bangalore and make videos (and maybe films, soon) together.

“We like to think that we’re exploring new spaces that exist somewhere between cinema and digital video,” the co-founders share. “Rooted in cinema and film, we’re drawn to the magnitude and versatility of the digital realm, and its daily impact on the human psyche. In a little less than a year, Chill Panther Films has grown from a team of three, working out a spare bedroom) to a full-time team.”

On what makes their company special

“We have a meritocratic, transparent work culture that pushes all of us to enhance skills, and expand our minds.”

The Backdrop

26-year-old Angad started off as a creative writer at numerous advertising agencies (in Mumbai and Delhi), and went on to work briefly at a production house (in Mumbai), before going back to creativing writing at an agency (in Delhi). He is now Partner at Chill Panther Films, and his other interests include Scuba Diving and coffee.

27-year-old Dhruv, on the other hand, started off as a video editor (in Los Angeles), changed to script writing and then went on to working as an Assistant Director (in Mumbai). The other partner at Chill Panther Films, he enjoys basketball, herb gardens and Lossless Audio.

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“All people are different. Never, ever work without an advance.”

On a typical day in office

“The day begins after everyone straps in after getting coffee and breakfast from Ganesh Darshini, across the street. This is usually followed by a fight about an Adobe update, or a pointless argument rooted in creative subjectivity. But everyone gets it out of their systems (Dhruv might shout at someone) and work goes on pretty well from there, despite the lack of cubicles and blaring headphones.”

One unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Homemade non-vegetarian items are the preferred choice, but for everything else, there’s Swiggy.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“A chill panther.”

V. Seven Beans Coffee Company: Loyal, Impassioned, Cohesive

Advith and Abhijit Shetty describe themselves as being fortunate enough ‘to be rooted in a century-old legacy of coffee cultivation”.

“Over the past hundred years, our family has acquired over 2,000 acres of coffee plantations in Chikmagalur, which are owned and managed entirely by our family,” the brothers, who have co-founded the company, say. “Until now, all the coffee grown on our plantations was sold to brokers, who in turn export the green coffee to countries such as Italy, Germany, Russia etc.”

As Indian coffee is highly sought-after by world-renowned Roasters, the most premium grades of Indian coffees are exported and these command a high price in the global market. With the best of our lot being exported, Indian consumers are left with an inferior cup of coffee, and this is really what inspired the duo to start Seven Beans Coffee Company, we want to provide the best of Indian coffee to the domestic market. “We use only the highest, most premium grades of coffee.”

The next step was to identify the right partner who could guide them and teach them about the nuances of roasting coffee, and they found a common vision with Dr.Dante Cagliari from Modena, Italy, who then came onboard, making Seven Beans Coffee Company the confluence of century-old legacy of coffee cultivation(India) & a century-old legacy of coffee roasting (Italy).

Besides being available in top gourmet retail stores across tier-1 cities, their produce are also available online – on Amazon, Flipkart, Placeoforigin, Qtrove, to name a few, in addition to offering complete end-to-end coffee and machine solutions to cafes, restaurants, hotels and offices across the country. Seven Beans is happy to report that their export business is growing rapidly, and they aim to have a significant International presence in the coming year.

On what makes the company special

“The fauna and flora all around us – they make us look very good.”

The Backdrop

34-year-old Advith, who obtained a B.Sc CM Construction Management from Milwaukee School of Engineering, has worked on Business Development – Residential & Industrial projects, International project acquisitions, Commercial property leasing. Hospitality management & services; he also enjoys technology, food and fitness.

31-year-old Abhijit Shetty, armed with a BEng Civil Engineering from Cardiff University, has worked as Project Manager, 120 km irrigation canal construction, Project Director, Dam, desilting basin & tunnel construction of 512 MW hydroelectric power project, International JV identification & execution and has trained as a Roastmaster under Dr.Dante Cagliari in Modena, Italy.

“Identifying the right partner who could guide and teach us about the nuances of roasting coffee was very important,” the co-founders say. “While India has been one of the most important producers of green coffee globally, much of India’s experience and expertise lies in coffee cultivation – export of green coffee being the primary focus. Being a coffee producing country, India levies a 112% import duty on coffees coming into the country, which is why Roasters in India do not get any exposure to working with coffees from around the world, limiting their experience. This is why we decided to identify an International partner, and after over a year of research and shortlisting, we narrowed down on Dr. Dante Cagliari from Modena, Italy. His family’s history and ours share uncanny similarities, as do our values and vision.”

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“Never stop the pursuit of quality, be more than just another hashtag.”

On a typical day in office

“Many hands chiselling away at the marble block that is yet to reveal itself.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from / One unanimously-loved snack in the office

“Chung Wah / Chocolate.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“The Seven Dwarfs.”

VI. The Spitfire BBQ Truck: Passion, Drive, Perfection.

Founded and owned by Gauthami Shankar and Siddhanth Sawkar, the duo has had the brand ‘The Spitfire BBQ’ for a while before the food truck came along, as they would usually provide an entire BBQ set up to a party which needed a good grill on their plates. “Later on, we wanted to revive the same brand into a new form, which gave birth to ‘The Spitfire BBQ truck’, India’s first and only BBQ food truck,” the co-founders say. “We started off in May, 2014, and gave way to a boom in the food truck industry. Since then, there has been no turning back; it’s been quite a lot of ups and downs; learning, as I would like to call it.”

The duo also has a movie based on their life, and their journey with their food truck, a Telugu movie called ‘Pellichoopulu’. Plans for 2017 include an expansion of the brand, with The Spitfire BBQ Truck Franchise already out; with enquiries pouring in, they hope to grow bigger each year.

On what makes the company special

“A closeknit family with brilliant ideas, love for food and belief in growing together, is what makes the company a special one.”

The Backdrop

23-year-old Gauthami Shankar has a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management, with a specialisation in Baking Science and Pastry Arts, from Christ University, while 25-year-old Siddhanth Sawkar has a Master’s in Italian cuisine from Culinary Institute, Italy.

While Gauthami loves art, animals, fashion, architecture (she tends to include a lot of concepts and shapes from architecture in her cakes), travel and writing — apart from Netflix and shopping binges — Sid loves his automobiles, be it bikes, cars or airplanes. Energy in any form is an interest to him, and travelling and spending time with his three puppies are some of his favourite ways to pass the time.

On the most important lesson they’ve learned while running the company

“We’ve learnt a lot of lessons; an important one would be to keep going even when the times get tough. In the hospitality sector, there is no room for second chances or comebacks. It’s either now or never.”

On a typical day in office

“A typical day at work starts off with planning a menu, procuring the ingredients, fresh, from the farm or local vendors, preparing the food, and doing a bit of marketing for the day. After a whole lot of social media, we drive the food truck to the location, serve out some kickass BBQ treats, and then leave — tired, but happy to have served some hungry folks, we wind up, drive back, do a thorough clean-up, and then get to bed.

“It’s basically a 7am to 12am kind of a job.”

On the one unanimously-loved snack in the office

“It completely depends on who is craving what. It can be a BBQ Chicken and Cheese Pizza, to a Neer Dosa with Chicken Curry, or just some Chinese Stewed Rice. It’s tough to pick; for Gauthami, it would be anything to do with chocolates and nachos. Sid loves Poutine, Gelato and his crazy love for Pringles.”

On everybody’s favourite place to order lunch from

“Domino’s, Carnival De Goa, Social, Sherlock’s, and Karavali, are a few of our favourites.”

Who / what would your company mascot be?

“If we had a company mascot, that would be Squishy and Squidy; basically the two of us, in an animated form I’m guessing. We do a quite bit of vine series by the name ‘Squishy and Squidy show’ so, yeah!”

[Follow The Spitfire BBQ Truck on Facebook & Twitter]

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