4 INDIAN GUYS BRING SOME SPICE TO ESTONIA – BLACKBAMBOOZ STUDIO
BlackBambooz Studio is a new startup that was founded in 2012. All 4 guys behind this ninja-like name – Kashyap Singha Phukan, Bijon Kumar Dutta, Arup Jyoti Das and Ramu Chetri – have been friends for a lot longer, though. Few of them new each other since school, others met in the university. In 2011, when they were still in university, they participated a 2-month competition called “Dare To Be Digital”, taking place in Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland. There they built a prototype for a game that brought them Intel Visual Adrenaline award and therefore the guys got some confidence to build something on their own.
So, after returning from Scotland, Kashyap and Ramu went to their home state and started to work on a project. Later on, Arup joined and the three of them were working for 2 months until Bijon was brought to the team as well. A few of the guys had a job before founding BlackBambooz. Ramu had even worked on animated movies, Bijon actually resigned his job and took all his savings and move to another state to begin this new adventure. They haven´t regretted their choice.
First project called “Lost Nimko” was done after a few months and even launched on the Appstore. But this was more like an experience project and for the team it was time to move on to start something bigger and better – under water adventure puzzle game called Scuba Diver (working title that is probably going to change).
How did they end up that far from home into the unusually cold in Tallinn? Well, as the guys are part of IGDA India and also some small groups of developers, they have received many invitations to all sorts of events. Then there was a bigger event happening where also GameFounders´ batch 2 team Time Plus Q Technologies was represented by Sri Prasanth. BlackBambooz´ guys couldn´t go to the event themselves, but sent their supporter and guru Sagar Sarma to participate and therefore he was the one to meet Sri personally. Sri promoted the program well enough and the guys decided to apply, even though they had only 2 days to prepare the application. They realized that being a new startup and in a certain phase with their development, GameFounders would be the right place to get some boost to move on faster.
The beginning of the program was also a bit difficult for them, having to rearrange their development schedules because they were not expecting so many mentors and such a busy schedule. “After coming here we are suddenly getting to know A LOT! We know how to make games, but we don´t know how to sell them in the market”, says Kashyap. They also mention the fact that the variety of mentors is so wide. “Being developers ourselves, it is good to meet mentors like Scott Foe or Vladimir Funtikov who are developers as well. They have already filled many pages of their career book. We have just started writing the pages of ours”.
What is funny is that Kashyap actually likes cold weather, so instead of complaining about it, he is strangely happy here in Tallinn. Not all of his team mates share the same view about the weather, but still agree on one thing – they are all waiting for the snow! Can you imagine they have never seen real snow in their lives!? Let´s hope their dream comes true and the snow will fall early this year.
“The main part I like about the program is that 8 different teams from totally different countries are working together,” says Kashyap. Apparently in India, they are just 4 of them working in the office alone. “Here we have Mexicans, Germans, Georgians and so many more together, with different views and different ideas. Here we get variety of advice and opinions in every day basis and also we get to compare our game and production to theirs”.
In their free time, Blackbambooz likes to invite people over to have lunch or dinner together at the hostel where they are staying at. They have started a nice tradition to invite each of the teams to come over every weekend. All 4 of the guys like to cook, therefore nice and spicy Indian experience is guaranteed. “One of the German guys said that when he goes home now and his dad asks about Estonian food, he would reply that he doesn´t know anything about Estonian food, but Indian food is good”.
Just like some Indian guys from the previous batch, the blackbambooz are sometimes missing the home food. Even though they can prepare some of it in Estonia, too, they still admit they can´t find all the proper spices from the supermarkets. “Estonian food is very plain food, we need more spice to it,” describes Kashyap. Arup adds: “Once we were out and ordered chicken. It looked good, but didn´t taste anything at all”.
Talking about what else do they miss being away from home, it turns out that Ramu is just newly married (only 5 months) and he obviously misses his wife. Arup and Bijon can´t think of anything that they truly miss and they feel great here (except the cold weather that they are not used to). And Kashyap is actually liking Tallinn and every scene of it, very much. He added: “I am very glad to be here, enjoying the beauty here and yes, also Estonian women are very beautiful”.
Tallinn has left a nice impression to them so far. They love the picturesque Old Town and the fact that there is so much free space everywhere. The big cities in India are crowded, so Tallinn is like a small calm village in countryside. All four claim as one that people in Tallinn are really friendly and helpful so their first month has only been full of positive impressions. Their future plans involve spending the Indian hot summer time in Estonia and then move back to India for the cold Estonian winter period. Or at least this is what Kashyap has in mind.
Arup, Bijon, Ramu and Kashyap believe that their life after GameFounders will change, hopefully to the greatness as they like to think. “But we need to work hard on it”. Their watchword to the gaming startups who are out there still figuring out what would be their next step, is: “When not applying to GameFounders, you are missing a great opportunity”.
BlackBambooz Studio (from left): Ramu, Kashyap, Arup and Bijon