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Samir Bangara: A visionary man, a talent spotter

The executive passed away due to a road accident.

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MUMBAI: Unexpected losses feel hard on the heart. Samir Bangara, who died in a road accident, will be remembered for his visionary approach to digital reformation and how he spotted and nurtured talents. The co-founder and chief executive of Qyuki Digital Media was also a riding enthusiast.

He initiated his journey with Qyuki in 2013 which was initially launched by director Shekhar Kapur and Grammy and Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman in 2012. The platform was relaunched in 2014. While he earned quite a fame for his efforts to build Qyuki, he was in the midst of starting his own venture when he met Kapoor. 

“It is with great sorrow that we inform you that our leader, mentor and trusted friend, Samir Bangara passed away in an accident this morning. We are all in a state of complete and utter despair and words will do no justice to express this loss. But it is our duty to absorb this shock for now so that we can be there for each other especially for his family, just the way Samir would have liked us to,” Qyuki COO Sagar Gokhale shared a statement. 

Bangara was also the chief operating officer of Indigames and later led its sale to Disney. UTV bought 30.02 per cent in Indiagames and then increased its stake to 86.02 per cent from 56 per cent. Later, UTV was acquired by Disney India. Post the sale, he focused on integrating the interactive businesses of Indiagames, Disney and UTV into one team covering games, video and audio services while he was serving as managing director - digital at Disney UTV.

“Samir Bangara was special. Someone who was a friend, not just a partner at work. I was always struck by his rare ability to traverse topics and contexts, from a room full of MBA types talking strategy to having a sense of the street. His smile and eloquence will never leave my mind. His passing is an irreparable loss to the Indian digital industry and creators. He was a visionary and their true friend. Whenever I spoke to him, I had a feeling that we can do great things together for creators. He left the world better than he found it. He helped people, shaped careers, spread wisdom and made friends. He made the years count. His legacy will live on through every single person he impacted positively in his life. May god bless his soul and give his family and everyone at Qyuki Digital Media the strength to bear this,” Facebook India entertainment partnerships head Saurav Saket Jha commented on LinkedIn.

“Shocked and numb to hear about my friend Samir Bangara. I can’t believe he is no more. Gone too soon. My condolences to his family. Hope they find the strength to overcome this huge loss. You will be missed Samir, but you will always remain in our hearts,” House of Cheer founder and managing director Raj Nayak said on Twitter.

“I lost my super power today. Samir Bangara, you have been a mentor/friend/business guide and the biggest cheerleader. You believed in me like no one else in this world,” producer Gunit Monga said.

While he led Quiky to emerge at the forefront of new media, Bangara started his career in another vertical, in venture capital with IL&FS Venture corporation and moved on to being an investment banker with Ernst & Young. He was an alumnus of Mumbai University. In January, Qyuki hosted Epic Fam Jam, a festival dedicated wholly to India’s rising social media superstars. Reportedly, it also secured $3.5 million from Info Edge Venture Fund (IEVF) earlier this year.

“I met Sam about 10 years ago and he stood out for his extremely sharp mind and politeness and had a smile always. I fondly remember the chat in his office about his passion for bikes and he had a glint in his eyes discussing it. It's a big loss for me personally and the industry at large! RIP Sam!" MX Player CMO Abhishek Joshi said.

"We lost a true entrepreneur and one of the finest digital minds in the region. We’ve been buds for three decades when we entered uni together in 1990 and I’ve seen Sam grow into a thoroughbred professional into one of the finest businessmen right in front of me. Our careers were always in different areas but they would always converge at some key points in our lives. He used me for advice and I him, whenever we needed some unbiased advice," shared Universal Music Group India and South Asia MD and CEO Devraj Sanyal.

He added that eight years ago, the paths between Qyuki Digital Media and Universal Music India crossed and they ended up doing a bunch of stuff together.

"Together we founded the The Dharavi Dream Project our corporate social responsibility project which is also one of India’s largest #MusicForSocialGood projects. We did a ton of other stuff in the digital world and for us not to have him around is just something anyone in our industry can even begin to comprehend," added Sanyal.

"It’s gonna take some very real work for his partner and COO Sagar Gokhale to now lead the businesses in his stead with his teams, though he knows he has the full industry behind him willing him to succeed. 
Godspeed Sam," said Sanyal's heartfelt LinkedIn post.

He was widely liked and admired by everyone in the industry for his visionary, cheerful and generous nature. Not only executives and celebrities but even people he mentored shared their grief over his sudden absence. 

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