Startup of the week- Flickstree: India’s first aggregator of Bollywood and Hollywood movies, powered by AI

flickstree-bannerThe movie buffs around may have a good time sparing their weekends on the favorite movies as there is one platform which curates great movies from around the web for you. Yes, the idea of having a personalized experience while watching movies might sound little hard to believe but that’s what Fickstree is doing for you!

India’s first online movie websites aggregator directs you to various streaming websites once the movie is discovered. In simple words, they make movie discovery online simple, by solving 2 big entertainment problems for users – “What movie to watch” and “Where to Watch”?

Saurabh Singh, CEO at Flickstree
Saurabh Singh, CEO at Flickstree

Founded in August 2016, Flickstree has received quite a good traction from the users. “More than 50K unique users have come to our platform and we are influencing movie decisions of more than 2000 users daily”, stated Saurabh Singh, CEO at Flickstree, which is currently seed funded through friends & family and are actively seeking funds in the market.

Having an experience of 11 years in managing key leadership assignments across Sales and Management at Asian Paints, Saurabh knew it was time to bring to life his passion. Thus, began an entrepreneurial journey with Flickstree! A mathematics graduate and an MBA, number crunching comes naturally to him. However, quiz him on his decision-making style – he says ‘I strongly believe on my gut feel’.

From idea to reality:

The founders being the cinephiles themselves had always struggled to discover the movies that they would love to watch online. “Every weekend, we would spend hours searching for one and often end up spending more than 45 minutes just deciding what to watch. We would Google, read film blogs, go to IMDB just to decide that one elusive movie. Once it was finalized, we would then spend another 30 minutes searching for that chosen movie online. The search process itself would take 1 hour without any certainty that we would love the chosen movie”, said Rahul Jain, the young COO of Flickstree, an avid risk taker and a lover of all things Bollywood.

Rahul Jain, COO of Flickstree
Rahul Jain, COO of Flickstree

“And every weekend, we would go through the same process all over again. So, we decided that we had to find a solution to this problem and we sensed a business opportunity there”, added Rahul.

With over 7 years of rich experience in media & digital, Rahul has led various award-winning teams at Asian Paints, with his last assignment as the head of media and digital. A management graduate from MICA, his motto in life is ‘you live only once’. If there is one movie he can’t get tired of watching, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur…. without doubt’.

According to the makers, there however was a bigger problem than that- to find where the movie is available to watch online. With the shutting down of Torrents and other illegal websites hosting pirated movie content, this problem was further aggravated. At the same time, various legal streaming players were making it easier for users to consume and buy content legally but the market was too fragmented.

A user would be hesitant to download 20 movie apps on his device.  So, we decided to create Flickstree to solve these 2 problems- What to watch and Where to watch”, added Nagender Sangra, CTO at Flickstree, magician coder who can program almost anything thrown at him.

Nagender comes with an experience of more than 15 years in core programming. He has studied medicine and holds no official degree in IT! When quizzed how did that happen he says “What started as a hobby in school, soon became a passion I wanted to pursue. And Life is too short to not pursue your passion!”

Integration of AI with Flickstree:

Artificial Intelligence is something that the company uses for recommending amazing movies to their users. It uses meta tags and points associated with each movie to understand and create “context” for users to better understand their movie preferences.

The second part comes in when the recommendation has been given and user takes some action on it. The algorithm is self-learning and on the basis of inputs given by the user, it is able to refine the “context” and also use this learning for recommending movies to other such “similar” users who have shown similar movie affinity”, added Saurabh.

That’s not all, AI is also used to match critics preference with user preference which helps them to recommend movies acclaimed by critics in case of a profile match.

Nagender Sangra, CTO at Flickstree
Nagender Sangra, CTO at Flickstree

Challenges on the way:

The biggest challenge was to get the right database of movies and to screen each and every movie before it could be classified as “recommendable”. “We invested almost 8 months in just getting the database right- each movie went through a critical lens of 12-13 parameters and was then given a Flickstree score”, confessed Nagender.

“The other big challenge for us is to move away users from doing generic movie related searches on Google to doing specific searches on our platform- since the movie data here is much more granular and organized. For this to happen, we are constantly innovating and ensuring that we create an entire community and social networking platform for movie lovers”, he added.

Jotting down on some of the unique features of Flickstree:

  • Personalized recommendations– for those who are not sure of what movies to watch
  • Where to watch– they aggregate all legal movie streaming players and users can easily check if their favourite movie is available to watch online
  • Add to watchlist– if a movie is not available to watch online currently, users can use this feature and whenever the movie is available online, they are notified
  • Advanced Search– an advanced database of movies that shows great curated list across any genre, year of release, language (currently only English and Hindi)
  • Movie Calendar– all details of upcoming movies. Easy to keep a track of your favourite movies
  • Follow Critics– follow your favourite critics and get notified whenever they write a new movie anywhere on the web
  • Critics recommendation– a curation of highly acclaimed movies by critics

By bringing quite a different concept on the table, there is no doubt that the company would witness growth in future. Going ahead, apart from the most popular Hollywood and Bollywood movies, the Flickstree team wishes to add short films, documentaries, regional movies, world cinema, TV shows and other digital content. “Our vision is to make Flickstree the world’s largest content curator and content discovery platform in next 3 years”, concluded Rahul.

Flickstree has also launched their Android app in October which can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

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Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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