Founder Profile: Ramita Ravi C17 GR20

WAFFA
4 min readMar 14, 2023

“Our vision is for any freelance artist to have an easy path to consistent income, benefits, and a long-term safety net — just as they would in any other field.”

Meet Ramita Ravi C17 GR20, the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Artswrk, a marketplace that connects artists to work. The goal of Artswrk is to shatter the concept of the “starving artist.”

Ramita is a professional dancer, choreographer, educator, consultant and entrepreneur. After graduating from Penn, she and her Arstwrk co-founder, Nick Silverio (W18) worked on high-profile projects like, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’, ‘Saturday Night Live’, and the Coachella Festival. While they loved pursuing their passion and working professionally, Ramita and Nick experienced the classic ups and downs of the “the artist rollercoaster” first hand — full time consistent income when working on a job, and scrambling for cash when the gig ends.

Ramita and Nick wanted to create a way for working artists to have more consistent income. They had both worked part-time at high growth startups, and believed they could build a technology solution to create a networking platform that could more easily match artists to work.

In their first year, Ramita and Nick were able to generate six figures in revenue for the artists on the Artswrk platform — matching the artists and performers to urgent and available jobs. Ramita and Nick completed Penn’s VIP-X accelerator in 2021 and now have a terrific network of mentors who have built companies like ClassPass, Casper and [solidcore].

Tell us a bit about your company

Artswrk is the marketplace connecting artists to work: clients book premiere Broadway/TV/Film artists on-demand and artists earn flexible, supplemental income between gigs. It’s built to shatter the starving artist stigma.

What inspired you to start your business — what opportunity in the market are you seeking to address?

My co-founder Nick Silverio and I have been professional dancers and choreographers for almost a decade! We left Penn worked on projects like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’, ‘Saturday Night Live’, and Coachella. In doing so, we experienced “the artist rollercoaster” first hand — full time consistent income when you’re on the job, and scrambling for cash when the job ends. We worked part-time at high growth startups to pay rent and realized we were uniquely positioned to connect working artists to consistent income. We’re eager to shatter the starving artist stigma for millions of artists across the globe.

What is it about your personal background, experience, or perspective that fuels your passion for this venture?

Coming from Penn, it was terrifying to take a leap of faith to pursue our passions — and so many don’t take that leap because it’s extremely difficult to financially sustain an arts career, no matter how much you’ve “made it”. We want to change that — our vision is for any freelance artist to have an easy path to consistent income, benefits, and a long-term safety net — just as they would in any other field.

What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?

In our first year of the marketplace, we manually generated 6 figures in revenue with $0 marketing spend — truly just the two of us sending texts, dms, and facebook messages to match artists to urgent and available jobs. We’ve helped artists pay rent and have saved clients time and revenue. We also completed Penn’s VIP-X accelerator in 2021 and have an amazing network of mentors who’ve built companies like ClassPass, Casper, and [solidcore].

Source: Artswrk

What has been one or two of your biggest learnings so far?

We launched Artswrk with a completely different concept — a LinkedIn for artists. While the idea was received well and got some early traction, we quickly realized we wanted to be able to measure real tangible impact (i.e., money into artist’s pockets). One of our advisors recommended we rip off the bandaid, sunset our tech product, and just start making matches. That was exactly the kick we needed — as soon as we started matching artists to work, the value became clear, artists and clients were drawn in organically, the mission began to actualize on a daily basis.

What is an obstacle that you are grappling with as you continue to build this venture?

Creative industries are extremely tech-phobic — to date, clients and artists have found each other on social media and transactions happen via cash or check. There is a TON of fragmentation which leads to risk, frequent cancellations, and lost income / revenue. We have the unique challenge of introducing a tech product to a demographic that dramatically needs to, but isn’t necessarily quick to change. However, it’s a daily challenge that makes us excited to tackle because it means real change is happening at some level!

What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?

Firstly, I am so grateful to have a co-founder partnership that is extremely strong and immensely aligned. We both feel passionately about this space, have been working together for 9+ years, and truly complement each others skill sets. Building Artswrk with Nick has been my favorite thing because I know that whatever happens, we will figure out a way to serve our mission and face all obstacles with resilience because that’s how we’ve navigated the entertainment industry for so many years!

Learn more about Artswrk here and connect with Ramita here.

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