Here comes Juggernaut, Chiki Sarkar’s new publishing venture

By 23 Sep 2015

There is new publishing house in town and it is making the waves. This itself is an event to celebrate about, as it puts the focus back on books and publishing. However, when it about a new publishing venture started by the former publisher of Penguin India and editor-in-chief of Random House India, Chiki Sarkar, you know, this perhaps is going to be the publishing event of the year.

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Chiki Sarkar: "At Juggernaut, we want to pioneer new ways of publishing and reading."

There is new publishing house in town and it is making the waves. This itself is an event to celebrate about, as it puts the focus back on books and publishing. However, when it about a new publishing venture started by the former publisher of Penguin India and editor-in-chief of Random House India, Chiki Sarkar, you know, this perhaps is going to be the publishing event of the year.

On 22 September 2015, Sarkar announced the setting up of a publishing company, Juggernaut, with Durga Raghunath, CEO and co-founder, who launched Firstpost and was CEO, Web18.

Sarkar, a WEF Young Global Leader, has worked with almost every major writer in the country, has published some of the most exciting new talents in the last decade and created game-changing bestsellers.

Raghunath began her career in book publishing, going on to head digital operations for

Mint and WSJ in India, then founding India’s first exclusively digital newsroom, Firstpost, and leading Network 18’s digital businesses. She was most recently the senior VP, growth, at Zomato.

Juggernaut will offer authors both a digital and a physical platform, and will re-imagine books for mobile at both ends of the spectrum – new ways of commissioning and rethinking the reading experience, book distribution and payments.

“At Juggernaut, we want to create a world-class Indian publishing company that will be recognised internationally and pioneer new ways of publishing and reading. My ambition has been to build the strongest, most respected publishing team in the country with the best partners and advisers in every field. In Durga I have the perfect partner to do some amazing publishing. I am excited at the adventures ahead,” said Sarkar.

“Having started my career in book publishing, I am delighted to return with a strong digital lens. There are more Indians accessing the internet, reading, writing and paying online than five years ago. I cannot imagine something more exciting than rethinking the underdeveloped book market and getting Indians to read,” says Raghunath.

Along with Sarkar and Raghunath, Juggernaut’s founding team includes some of the country’s most experienced publishing professionals: Gavin Morris, a senior art director with rich international experience of working for more than a decade in the UK and US with publishers like Transworld, Faber and HarperCollins; Jaishree Ram Mohan, the industry’s most senior managing editor, who ran the country’s largest copyediting team; Nandini Mehta, an acclaimed editor of non-fiction whose authors include Ramachandra Guha, Katherine Boo, Naseeruddin Shah and BN Goswamy; and R Sivapriya, whose translation list was shortlisted for the London Book Fair’s Industry Excellence Awards and whose authors include Perumal Murugan, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi and Sudhir Kakar.

The digital and business teams include Saurav Roy (CPO), who has founded two companies, Myriads and Burrn, the former while he was still in IIT Madras; and Neel Karinje (CFO) with over 20 years of industry experience, most recently as director of finance in a Fortune 100 MNC.

Juggernaut’s investors are William Bissell, MD of one of India’s most successful retail brands with over 200 outlets, writer and entrepreneur. He was advised by Angela De Giacomo as well as Dipankar Vig, MPC Legal; Nandan Nilekani, former CEO and co-founder of Infosys, who was advised by Entrust Family Office; and Neeraj Aggarwal, MD of Boston Consulting Group, India.

Juggernaut will publish 50 titles each year, starting from April 2016. It will be distributed and warehoused by Hachette India. The digital programme, which forms a major focus at Juggernaut, will be announced shortly.


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