J.V. Karthik Raja, Founder – Paperboy
An avid reader and traveller, Jonna Venkata Karthik Raja, the founder of Paperboy is an energetic, passionate and positive person, with zeal to learn and grow. An innovator at heart, Karthik acquired his business acumen from his father, Mr. Vijaya Bhaskar.
Paperboy is an online news discovery and distribution application that aggregates newspapers and magazines accessible on any platform. With a clean and simple interface, the app contains no pop up ads or interference, and lets one access their news both in online and offline mode; thus, making it easy to for people to read the newspapers at their convenience. Paperboy provides you the experience of reading your favourite newspaper but on a screen which is the in-vogue format of choice today.
Pursuing his final year of graduation from Jain University, Karthik has a keen interest in aviation and holds a student pilot license. Travel for volunteering (teaching or being a gardener in organic fields) is another one of the things he loves as he finds them to be the perfect way to explore the world, different cultures and meet like-minded people. Read the interview to know more about Karthik & his entrepreneurial journey.
What led you to the path of Entrepreneurship?
My father is an adept businessman. Growing up in an entrepreneurial home not only sparkled my passion for business at a young age but also gave me exposure to real world business experience long before I stepped out into the path of entrepreneurship. I have seen my dad work on out of the box businesses in his time and taking the bulls by the horn.
Having him as my example and constant support helped me build my “entrepreneurial stomach”. I too, like dad, have always been an innovator at heart and I believe in creating new solutions that makes life easier and more interesting. After working on multiple projects with dad and in college, I put my skills to test in my own venture. The ability to procure and follow local news from any corner of the world was one of my age old visions and hence I decided to make it my first project in form of Paperboy as well.
Who inspires you the most? Why?
My inspiration and role model has always been my father, Mr. Bhaskar, Director, Paperboy. Growing up, I have watched my father set up many businesses and juggle them successfully. He has always invested in the out of the box, yet practical ideas, that add value to the consumer’s life. He is a risk taker but he balances it out with his thorough research, knowledge on the idea and by formulating a carefully thought through plan of action. Dad’s strong work ethic and never-give-up attitude has always inspired me. He is honest, dedicated businessman who treats his employees like his family and his projects like his baby. I really admire these qualities of his and hope to follow his footsteps to become as successful businessman as he is, someday.
If not business, what would you be doing?
I love travelling and reading. Paperboy is, in fact, a by-product of both these passions combined. I have also had a keen interest in flying and have an undying love for aircrafts. I currently have a student pilot license and I plan on pursuing aviation alongside my business. So if not business, I would definitely be in a profession where I get to travel the world.
How did you manage to fund the business?
We are currently bootstrapped and are not looking for funding anytime soon. Since Paperboy has recently been launched, we are yet to map any substantial profitability. However, we have in place long term plans that can deliver a profit margin for the company.
What are your plans for monetization of the idea?
We are looking at organic growth at the moment. While we are not looking at generating revenues in the first few months, instead our focus will be – onboarding as many leading print newspapers as possible onto our platform. Over time we will explore non-intrusive strategic advertisement placements that do not deter the reader in any way along with the buy-in of newspaper publishers and their advertisers. In our second phase of development, we will be introducing customized ads for digital newspapers only. While every newspaper publication has ads on the physical print paper, the same ads will be customized in the digital version. This will not only increase revenues for both publishers and Paperboy, but give publishers get an opportunity to go head-to-head with online news sources to secure advertisers.
Tell us about your vision for “Paperboy” & future plans to upscale
Uniting newspapers into one application, Paperboy aims to broaden the global readership base of newspapers. By providing the widest range of newspapers and magazines accessible on any platform, we look at being the ultimate way to browse, buy, and read news on the go. Regional and national editions of newspapers can also be accessible from anywhere in the world through Paperboy’s platform. No matter which part of the world you are in, one can get a flavour of your country and be updated about regional happenings.
Our mission is to: Bring the world in a single scroll; Create value and make a difference & Making Paperboy the ultimate way to read newspapers.
In its second phase of development, over the next few years, Paperboy will expand its tie-ups to global newspapers outside of India. Paperboy will aggregate global newspapers from the United States, UAE, UK and Singapore, before expanding to markets in other countries.
What were some the challenges that you had to overcome?
During the seed stage, a lot of newspaper publications were hesitant to embrace this unique idea. But considering we are a new and niche segment, challenges were bound to arise as we continued trundling along. And now Paperboy has 200+ newspapers and some major magazines on board. We are currently focusing all our energies on empanelling leading newspapers in India that will in turn draw audiences to our platform.