Interview: Double Trouble and more at Baseline Ventures with Tuhin Mishra

Baseline Ventures Pvt Ltd, in just 6 years of its inception has become one of the top sports management companies in India and boasts of a very strong roster of athletes diversified across several sports. Baseline manages some of India’s top athletes and entertainment stars and has established a strong foothold in the sponsorship, licensing and events space. 

Team Female Cricket recently caught up with the MD and Co-Founder of Baseline Ventures, Mr. Tuhin Mishra who has over 20 years of professional experience and came across as a very humble and cheerful personality. He is enthusiastic about learning and super passionate about the projects he is involved in. 

But what makes them special and stand out from the rest? What are some of the principles the company follows and what’s special about their upcoming digital project – Double Trouble? You get to know everything from this conversation.

 

Double Trouble with Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues
Double Trouble with Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues. Credits: Tuhin Mishra/Twitter

 

Excerpts from the interview:

How has the quarantine been for you? How is it treating you?

I am at my home in Gurgaon. Like all of us, I’m trying my best to cope up with this lockdown. There’s no other alternative or solution than staying at home and keeping social distance. But in a way, I am sure it has given all of us the time to work on things we always wanted to, but we never got the time to do that. In a way, it has also given us time to sit back, reflect on things and think ahead, even from an organization’s point of view. Hopefully, we are using this time constructively.

On a personal level, how do you see this lockdown? How has it affected your daily routine?

What has happened is, we all are spending more time with our family and anyone who has been in the sports business knows that we do end up traveling a lot, because of work and we get relatively lesser time to spend at home, spend with the family. So no complaints on that. It has also given us time to work on our fitness, personally I can tell that for myself. I have lost a few kgs in the process and I am happy about it, so that’s a lot of positive on a personal front.

How has COVID-19 impacted the sports industry? What lies ahead for companies operating in this domain?

It has impacted everyone globally and no one at this point in time can sit and say this is what we are going to do. With all due respect to everyone, no one has a clue as to how the countries are going to operate, and it is about people’s lives. So any form of sports activity or I would say entertainment becomes secondary. And I am not saying, sports are not important. I feel after COVID-19, once things resume, sports I feel would become even more important. Because at the inherent level, we all want to participate in sports, be it playing or just viewing the sport, I think it will become even bigger, people would have realized the importance of the physical activity. It has impacted the entire ecosystem.

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How is the team, the co-founders at Baseline coping up with the ongoing situation?

We have some excellent people at Baseline, my co-founders and we all thought of ways of working together and ensuring that we try and maintain calmness around the organization and we all felt that even in this lockdown, there could be certain things that can be done by all of us sitting at homes. So we are also trying to work out commercial deals, you may not be doing brand endorsements, appearances, but there are certain things that can still be done at the online level and through digital platforms.

Your journey has been incredible so far. Take us through it and talk about the driving forces at Baseline Ventures?

Whatever we have done till now is not because of one person, it’s because of a team and I genuinely believe this. It has never been a one-man show.

This is what I always try to propagate, try to build a firm/organization where everyone is equally passionate because we are playing a team sport, it’s not an individual thing. The moment you are playing a team sport, you need to have passionate folks. We are fortunate that at Baseline, we have that. And I am not just talking at the Founder’s Level, there’s no question about our love and interest for the industry, but I am talking even about the employees, the team members you are working with, colleagues, when they have the passion for work they are involved in, it reflects in the work they do. And you need to enjoy what you are doing, what you are creating.

 

Tuhin Mishra and PV Sindhu
Tuhin Mishra and PV Sindhu. Pic Credits: Twitter

Tell us about the team that built Baseline Ventures? How and where did you all meet?

We are 5 co-founders. We have all been colleagues for a long time now. Three of us were colleagues at IMG, i.e Vipin, Vishal, and myself. After then when I moved to Total Sports Asia, that’s where I met Ram and Raman. We actually got along very well and we have been working together for the last 16-17 years. We all felt that we are going to work really well together and we all had a desire to do something of our own, where we don’t get trapped in the normal bureaucracies of bigger firms of decision making and there’s certain freedom we all wanted to work with. So we thought of starting Baseline in 2014.

You come from a media and advertising background. What led you to start Baseline which is heavily invested in the Sports industry?

Sport was a huge calling for me. I used to be a sportsperson. I have dabbled in swimming, I have been a national level swimmer. I was part of the Delhi University Swimming team. I used to play water polo as well. And I was pretty decent at a lot of other sports. So sports has always been a weakness and is a weakness for me. So while working with IMG, I got a lot of hands-on working at Wimbledon, Chennai Open, Fashion Week, and a lot of other projects happening around the world. So, transitioning from the advertising and media industry to sports wasn’t difficult at all.

 

Tuhin Mishra and Smriti Mandhana.Pic Credits: Twitter
Tuhin Mishra and Smriti Mandhana. Pic Credits: Twitter

When did you all decide to quit jobs and start Baseline? What are some dos and don’ts that you followed before building this organization?

By June 2014, we all decided that now is the time to resign from our current job. We took a small break, and we utilized that time in the planning of what are we going to build, how are we going to do it, what to do, and most importantly what not to do. A lot of times, we only focus on things that we want to do, but because we had experienced, we knew that there are things we shouldn’t be doing.

Also, it is very important to know how do you cut the costs of the company. This, in so many ways, can bring down companies or has brought down so many companies at various levels, so we were very curious on how do we travel, where we stay, how do we spend the money, what is the money we put behind the projects because not every project will kick-off. So a lot of planning happened before we actually build Baseline.

Did you have any role-models in the industry before you build Baseline Ventures?

Yes, we were very clear that we wanted to build ourselves on the IMG Global model. IMG if you look globally, they delve into a lot of things. That’s what we do as a firm, provide solutions across different vertical of sports. Be it licensing, be it sponsorships, be it events, or be it athlete representation. And now, we are also working on digital programming, something around the production side of sports and Double Trouble is one of those projects.

What was the idea behind Double Trouble? How did you come up with this?

So we were actually talking one day, Smriti and myself, and then Jemimah also came in the picture. So this whole idea came to all of us, though it was part of a general conversation, and Smriti and Jemimah have great chemistry, both on and off the field and they keep on pulling each other’s leg. So we decided, that why not come up with some sort of digital show, people were doing Instagram Live, so we decided to make it a nice packaged kind of a show where Smriti and Jemi go after each other and we have a sports guest to start with and you get to ask him/her questions.

Because when journalists ask questions, they interact at a certain level. But when a sportsperson asks questions to another sportsperson, it gives a lot of relatability to the conversation, because it could be something that they are experiencing or have experienced in their journeys as well.

That’s what this whole show is about. Thankfully we also found a sponsor for the show, Peps Mattresses. We are thankful to them for coming on board and supporting this whole initiative.

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L-R: Jemimah Rodrigues, PV Sindhu and Smriti Mandhana
L-R: Jemimah Rodrigues, PV Sindhu and Smriti Mandhana. Credits: Screengrab from YouTube

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