From Amateur Blogging to a Full-service Digital Marketing Agency

Indian Startup Stories
Illustrake team

Entrepreneurs: Mihir Gadhvi, Satyansh Tiwari and Prakhar Shrivastava

Business Name: Illustrake

Welcome to #eoindia Startup Stories episode 140

Design is crucial in branding today. Your business gets noticed by your design, no matter whether it’s a logo or an advertisement. As an aggressively competitive niche, finding your exclusive space is a Herculean task in the design and marketing industry.

For team Illustrake, which consists of three friends – Mihir, Satyansh, and Prakhar- it all started with their blog, 3nions. They landed their first paying client through this blog, which now primarily handles tech news.

When these youngsters came to know that people were ready to pay for their service, they took the essential next step, driven by their sheer passion for entrepreneurship. That’s how they founded Illustrake, a complete digital marketing agency that provides solutions to your business’ digital needs.

What does it take to run a digital marketing agency today? How do they keep the brand relevant amid fierce competition? Team Illustrake talks about their journey.

1) How did you get your idea for this business?

It all started with our sister concern – 3nions. It was an amateur blogging site (which now caters to technology) where we used to upload creative images made from scratch.

One fine day someone approached us to make more of it because the person liked it for some reason. It was technically our first paid assignment. It was something unexpected like we are stepping out of our comfort zone. You can say that it was our ‘viral’ moment and that 2-3 creatives gave birth to Illustrake.

Without much technical knowledge and help, we started sailing with just a few equipments and made it till here. Not to do a regular job was our escape mechanism, which we didn’t analyze carefully. It seemed scary but seeing the output now, we are glad did it.

2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?

Inspiring startup stories

Time keeps changing and in order to keep up, we too have to. A decade ago, logo designing was a niche but today, everyone can explore their inner artist and get paid for it.

With the inclusion of technology, ideas become reality and reality is where we live. The merger of these two concepts makes us believe that anything is possible. So, amidst various competitors, we are trying to carve our name in a business that we often talk about passionately.

3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?

The definition of an entrepreneur screams “risk” in real life so our families had some serious concerns which we had to answer with a whole lot of calculations. There was an immense family pressure to “get a stable job” as it’s with anyone who has recently graduated. A lot of convincing happened and the conversations took turns. It gave birth to the thirst to succeed but with careful steps.

4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?

Startup founders India
Mihir Gadhvi

Not taking risks! The idea of working on our “brain-child” without any support was earth-shattering. So, it inherently scared us to take baby steps, even though we had an inkling that it will take us ahead.

Risks are synonymous with success. An actor has to take up a script that he believes in it but whether or not the output will be met with success, is unknown. Same is with any start-ups; you cannot know that you will get a 100% success but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Overlooking the regrets, we look back whenever a new challenge is ahead of us and we go ahead with it. Of course, being a team, we take everyone’s opinions and settle at a place where we are fully aware of the consequences we have to face by going forward with the decisions.

5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?

A few years ago, we set foot in the realm of technology. Today, we are hell-bent on carving our name between the doyens of tech world. So, our main focus would be to take baby steps in this new field, already explored by hundreds in our country. We are currently considering our options and there are lots, actually, so we will have to look into the feasible ones.

6) What habits contribute to your success?

Consistency and experimenting, for sure. One can’t tell which of our actions would be successful. So, we constantly take different routes for the same journey. That and determination. These words are clichéd but it is what it is. You cannot replace the basic condiments of a recipe but adding different elements might bring out a whole new dish. That’s what we do, constantly experiment. We have seen the sweet and bitter side of doing so, but at the end of the day, you tend to remember the sweet experiences.

7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again, what would you do differently?

Startup Stories
Prakhar Shrivastava

It would sound unreal, but nothing. We have reached here with the steps we had climbed yesterday, and the day before that. We observed and learned from our failures while climbing them so if we hadn’t faced those hurdles, we wouldn’t have known what could go wrong or could have never achieved all the right boxes we checked.

Yes, the thing that we would want to change is the approach – it will be the same but we won’t indulge in procrastination or some outwardly thoughts that were really impractical.

8) What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill. This is what essentially means making lemonade out of lemons.

9) Where do you find inspiration?

Innovation! This business is striving and we daily get to see some or the other firms throwing new ideas casually but not getting appreciated. We all want to be adulated for our achievements but that’s not always the case.

Instead, focusing on what we can do or how to tweak an already interesting thing, is what gets us ticking. We are all nerds, and by that, we don’t mean that we are obsessed and blind with our core functioning; we now have a respectable amount of knowledge in our respective fields so we derive our success with the failures.

So, our inspiration is in our works and the success and/or failures that we get a dose of. And, of course, our team members who strive hard to make the name of this business.

10) What is your favorite book?

EOINDIA Startup Stories
Satyansh Tiwari

There are lots actually, and considering this question is asked to three different people, it’s tricky. But we do have names – Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Secret, Warren Buffett: The Life, Lessons & Rules For Success, etc. You can never go wrong with these books.

11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?

To do more and plan less. We often tend to note things down things and strike it off, categorizing it in to-dos. Planning is crucial but implementing it or taking action is what will get you on to the next step.

So, those who are thinking about taking their ideas to a whole new level, they shouldn’t indulge in the kitchen-sink approach. Just do what feels right and hit the peddle.


These three youngsters had to face it all – criticism, discouragement and risks. But they were prepared to go the extra mile to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. As a team, they took inspiration from their failures and made progress. So, keeping your enthusiasm intact is crucial in entrepreneurship. That’s how you can tackle challenges and move forward.

Startup Stories

You can now follow Illustrake on Instagram now.

Check out the books that inspired these young entrepreneur

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