From an early age, a proper work ethic was instilled in him by his father, of working hard, working smart but most importantly always being humble.
These Qualities he has carried throughout his life and today he is one of the most powerful bosses in the Indian sporting scene.
Taking a plunge of faith he and a few friends decided to start Baseline Ventures, six years down the line Baseline ventures manages some of India’s biggest megastars in sports, and have cricket superstars such as Prithvi Shaw, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, women’s team superstar Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana, Today I have the honour of speaking with The Boss Tuhin Mishra.
Hi Mr Tuhin, it’s a pleasure to have you on cricktalk20, do tell us a little about yourself?
I am born & brought up in Jamshedpur, the land of the Tatas. I was always relatively good in studies, sports & extracurricular activities being very active in school activities as well. Post my 12th grade, I tried engineering for a year but dropped out as my heart was not there. Came to Delhi to pursue my under graduation in Economics & post that my masters in Business Economics specialising in Marketing & Systems at Delhi University. Got my first job at Tata Motors in Bombay but hung around for just a month.
I badly wanted to get into advertising & media and hence came back to Delhi to join the leading ad firm, J Walter Thompson in their media division. Started to work on the Pepsi account & then Glaxo Smithkline. It was an amazing experience even though with crazy work hours & schedule. It had a huge impact on what work I did later on in life. From there moved to McCann Ericsson where I worked on the Nestle account. After a good experience in media planning & buying, I was very keen to move to the other side of the business which was Media Selling & was fortunate to get a chance to work with Turner International (Time Warner) & worked on selling advertisement inventory on channels like Cartoon Network, Pogo & briefly CNN. From there, moved to the biggest sports marketing firm, IMG & this was my real awakening in terms of being among the big boys & doing some really interesting work. After a couple of years stint, a new concept was happening in India around Retail Television, I joined the firm Tag Media which was an Intel invested firm. After a couple of years, my calling for sports marketing took me back to a Malaysia headquartered firm, TSA where I worked till 2014 & was their India & subcontinent MD with a brief 1.5-year stint in China as well for them. In 2014, a bunch of guys got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug & 5 of us Co-Founded Baseline Ventures. In the 6th year of our operations is based out of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore, we are already one of the topmost sports marketing firms of India. I’m based out of Delhi (Gurgaon).
Growing up was it marketing you wanted to venture in?
Growing up, I honestly didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. But Sports was surely a calling. But I’m happy that I got exposed to a lot of other fields of work which helped me in shaping my destiny.
Who was your inspiration?
My father has been my first inspiration as he was always upright & very ethical in everything that he did. A lot came from the Tata way of working. So my upbringing in Jamshedpur has had a big part to play in my overall inspiration. Then in various walks of life, I have been inspired by some of my bosses – Nitin Jain,S.K Praveen, Sunandan Chaudhury, Ravi Krishnan, Late Suvrangsu Mukherjee who was not just a boss but a great friend too. A lot of my selling inspiration was all thanks to Suvrangsu.
How did you start Baseline Ventures?
In 2014, a bunch of guys decided to start our own sports marketing firm where we all felt that we should be the masters of our own destiny. Few of us resigned the same day, we took the plunge. Few more joined us in a couple of months from the previous firm where we used to work. It was all work from home. We were also very fortunate that a US-based fund invested into Baseline before we had actually started work based on our business plans & thankfully we have delivered to our investors as we have been EBITDA positive in each & every year till now.
What made you start Baseline Ventures?
Sports is really exploding in India & we ( 5 of us – Vipin Nair, Vishal Jaison, R Ramakrishnan, Raman Grover & I) wanted to really do something magical together without the usual trappings of bureaucratic methods of working of large firms & where decisions can be taken quickly if it made business sense. So our business is built on the global IMG model which is focusing on Sponsorships, Talent Representation, Licensing & Events. If we feel, we can create or help in building a project, raising sponsorships, we love to work on them. We do look at the scale of doing business.
In a short time baseline has secured some mega deals for Indian sports, and you also manage some of India’s most elite athletes, what’s the secret behind your success?
The secret of our good work & relative success in all humility is that we are very passionate about our work. None of my colleagues complains about working hours or doing hard work. We have a great team that gels very well & all of us believe in ensuring that we deliver for our clients. Most importantly we believe in working very ethically & ensuring that best practices are followed always.
India has an abundance of talent in sports, how do you identify the athletes you want to represent?
We have a great roster of talents currently on board. 27 of them at the last count across various sports of Badminton, Cricket, Boxing, Shooting, Hockey, Archery, Table Tennis, Squash, Billiards & Snooker, Swimming, Motorsports. We have always looked at athletes which we have felt have an X factor. The athlete can be at various stage of their life cycles as well but as long as we feel we can do justice to their talent, we invest in those athletes & try and secure sponsorship & brand endorsement deals, manage their PR, digital etc. In our roster, we have a huge proportion of female athletes & as Baseline, we can proudly say we have the best female roster of athletes in India who are breaking the glass ceilings every day.
If given the opportunity, which athlete would you love to manage?
We are happy with our current lot honestly. But from yesteryears would have loved to manage Boris Becker & Michael Jordan. That too when they were coming off the ranks. It’s more fun.
You have an array of different athletes from different disciplines in sport, do you go watch them personally before signing them up, or you have people under you who spot them?
It’s a mix of both where we personally go & watch the talent before signing. Or some reliable sources bring to our notice about a particular athlete & then we track him or her down.
What is your most memorable sporting memory?
Personally, my most memorable sporting memory watching on TV was the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship in Australia where Ravi Shastri got the Audi car. As a kid growing up during that time, it had a huge impact.
How do you define success?
Success is a big word & is all relative. At Baseline Ventures, we first try to be content with what we have to really enjoy the fruits of hard work & then create new milestones. As long as we are happy, for us it defines success. Not to forget we do strive to hit winners from the Baseline Ventures.
Thank you again for such a brilliant interview we do look forward to seeing you grow and become successful.