In his freshman year at Temple University, Anmol Gupta, BBA ’20, took a class with Greg Fegley, director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute’s (IEI) 1810 Accelerator. During the course, Creativity & Organizational Innovation, students are taught about different kinds of entrepreneurship, walked through various types of business models and encouraged to think outside the box to create their own ventures. It was there that Gupta came up with his own business idea: Reels on Wheels.
Reels on Wheels was originally created to provide free entertainment to rural communities in developing countries, while simultaneously enabling governments and corporations to reach these communities for data collection purposes like polling for elections. Gupta used what he learned in the IEI to create his business plan and proposal. In 2017, he won first place in the social impact track at the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), the IEI’s largest entrepreneurial pitch competition where student and alumni “Owlpreneurs” compete for funding, service packages and other resources.
Following the competition and his graduation, Gupta gained professional experience working as a risk analyst at Ernst & Young before returning to Reels on Wheels and India to fulfill his companies’ mission of connecting communities. After realizing the potential that the company had to create these organic connections and collect more data, Gupta’s family election polling business, Axis My India, acquired Reels on Wheels to reach out to remote areas in his unique way.
“In developing countries, the corporate and government bodies find it difficult to both market their products and communicate with rural communities. My concept involves bringing large numbers of people together in rural communities which facilitates the dissemination of marketing messages and social policies, as well as gathering of market information and analytical data,” says Gupta.
Axis My India gained so much traction that Harvard Business School did a case study on their systems, processes, human resources, business model and operations strategies.
Gupta understands that expanding to the U.S. market requires a shift in their data collection approach, and believes his coursework at the Fox School has taught him how Axis My India should adapt. To shift the business to a new market, he plans to do mock runs of different local elections to see what methods will work best for their data collection.
For example, in India, their sample sizes reach 10 million people and they have thousands of surveyors who work going door to door. In the U.S., they would rely on electronic surveys where people would be able to remain anonymous and they would incentivize people to fill them out.
Gupta also recognizes that people in India are much more open about their political beliefs. He hopes respondents can use their own networks to create a larger sample. “The methodology we are trying is an organic one,” says Gupta.
What began as a small startup to provide entertainment and learn about remote communities in developing nations, now has the chance to create organic connections to isolated areas around the world. Gupta’s entrepreneurial vision proves that to create real change in the world, one has to gather resources and know-how to utilize them. Thanks to IEI’s funding, mentorship and coursework, one startup can have a big reach.