Kerala startup Bhooshan’s Junior takes tech-tainment for kids a notch higher

The company has launched a musical entertainment journey titled Jhoom Tara Ra Ra which comes in cartoons, comics and gaming genres. Photo: Special arrangement

Kochi: Sarath Bhooshan started dreaming of a business of his own when he was in high school. His father was an employee of Birla Textiles Mills; so he wanted to do something associated with textile technology when he grows up.

The boy from Kalavoor in Kerala’s Alappuzha district grew up, became an engineer, worked in the financial sector and started not just one but two companies.

One of them obviously was in textile technology. However, it’s not his childhood passion that worked for him. Instead, he found a new interest in an area which was altogether strange to him – kids’ entertainment – and his experiments in the field have started paying off.

Sarath calls his startup -- Bhooshan’s Junior – a first-of-its-kind kids tech-tainment company. Tech-tainment refers to technology-driven entertainment for kids, incorporating various interactive media to deliver an enhanced entertainment experience. Incubated under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the company focusses on developing comics, animated series, gaming and AR/VR products besides interactive and robotic toys for kids. It recently raised a pre-seed fund of Rs 1.11 crore in a combination of debt and equity.

The Kochi-based startup has set itself a target to become a one-stop solution for kids’ entertainment by 2026. Bhooshan's Junior has developed its own VR platform called 'Bhooshan's Junior World' that, the company claims, offers an array of interactive experiences, fostering not only entertainment but also creativity, learning, and family engagement.

Bhooshan's Junior co-founder Sarath Bhooshan. Photo: Special arrangement

Sarath started his experiments with cartoons and animation in 2013 when he launched a company called Oseye Media Technologies with investor backing. It was started as an IT firm but as situations demanded Sarath changed his strategy and shifted his focus to cartoons sooner. A graduate in computer ccience engineering, Sarath was vice president, equities, at India Bulls Securities Ltd, before he launched his company. Oseye also had a textile technology brand which did not take off.

Once he changed his strategy at Oseye, Sarath proposed cartoon and animated contents for mainstream Malayalam entertainment channels. His efforts paid off when Shalom TV, a Catholic channel, bought his idea of an animation series.

Team Bhooshan's Junior with co-founders Sarath and Joseph. Photo: Special arrangement

He did a couple of shows for them besides taking up projects outsourced by industry giants such as Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. The experience and exposure helped him accumulate the knowledge investment he is unleashing at Bhooshan’s now.

Sarath shut Oseye in 2019 and launched Bhooshan’s the same year. The idea behind Bhooshan’s was to create Indian products of international standards for kids’ entertainment which is an ever-evolving industry.

“With a deep understanding of the preferences and interests of children, we strive to provide a unique and engaging experience that both kids and parents will love,” Sarath said.

The industrial paralysis induced by the covid pandemic affected Bhooshan’s for a year. However, it soon picked up pace and has entered the revenue generation stage, according to the founder-cum-CEO.

The company is also working on a series of products based on the character Meawoo, the curious kitten. Photo: Special arrangement

The company has launched a musical entertainment journey titled Jhoom Tara Ra Ra which comes in cartoons, comics and gaming genres. In a month since launch, the game recorded over 5,000 downloads. A second game which will come in 3D in VR and 2.5D in mobiles will be launched in two months.

The company is also working on a series of products based on the character Meawoo, the curious kitten. The products are available on Android and iOS platforms. Bhooshan’s has tied up with Jio as well.

The company is planning to roll out 25 toys, including a robotic toy, which it claims will be a companion to kids from 3 to 12 years of age. Bhooshan’s Junior is well aware of the concerns over quality of entertainment products for kids. Sarath, along with his co-founder Joseph Panikulam who joined Bhooshan’s with the rich experience of heading a leading children’s television channel, is keen to address these concerns.

Bhooshan's Junior co-founder Joseph Panikulam. Photo: Special arrangement

Joseph, who is Bhooshan’s chief programming officer, came on board this year. Both Sarath and Joseph are particular that the stories they give out to the children should be logical and their products should provoke the little minds to think out of the box.

Bhooshan’s Junior is upbeat about the renewed importance the Centre is giving to the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) sector. The country, according to the Union government, has the potential to capture 5 per cent ($40 billion) of the global market share by the year 2025, with an annual growth of around 25-30%, creating over 1,60,000 new jobs annually.

Sarath is of the opinion that Kerala is yet to realise the potential of the sector despite the abundance of talent.

(Startup Saturday is Onmanorama’s weekend series featuring promising startups from Kerala. Find the previous stories here)

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