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Lending a helping hand, one crowdfunding at a time

Coimbatore | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 16, 2017

Milaap allows individuals/organisations to crowdfund donations for personal causes, emergencies, social causes and events

When faced with a personal emergency or a social project ,and when the sum required is way beyond your savings, you will probably turn to friends and family for help. And it may not always be easy to get them to support the cause.

A Bengaluru-based start-up tries to answer this concern with an online solution.

Milaap is a crowdfunding platform which allows individuals and organisations to crowdfund donations for personal causes, emergencies, neighbourhood projects, social causes and events.

The start-up, according to co-founder Anoj Viswanathan, has “enabled a number of individuals to seek and render financial support within clicks.”

Averring that there is no need to teach people to help others in need, Viswanathan said “they have been doing that for ages. We have taken this online, making it more easy for both the fund-raiser and the donor to contribute to a cause.”

The funding community

Milaap’s community of funders are spread across 120 countries. Viswanathan said they have contributed almost ₹215 crore over the past six years, supporting close to one lakh unique fund-raising appeals.

“When we started the venture in 2010, we got a licence from the Reserve Bank to receive foreign funds. While a major chunk of our funds is from domestic donors, close to 40 per cent is still foreign funds.

“It was not easy to get contributions in the early years as we had to establish trust in the online space. It has started showing signs of a pick-up, but the donors from tier II locations are few and far.”

‘For those in need’

“Our endeavour is to make it easier for people to raise money online for the causes that matter to them. The platform enables the seeker to raise funds for personal causes, loved ones, pets and animals, natural disasters, sports documentaries, volunteering and fellowships, and other projects benefiting individuals or communities in need.

“Close to 60 per cent of the funds raised are for medical needs, 10-12 per cent for education projects (around school infrastructure) and 3-4 per cent for higher education needs of individuals,” he said, adding that “Milaap has collaborated with popular hospitals across the country to ensure that people do not goe without treatment due to insufficient funds.”

The platform has in recent months helped a fund-raiser collect more than ₹11 lakh, exceeding his goal amount of ₹10 lakh, for restoration of lakes and ponds in drought-hit Tamil Nadu, Viswanathan said.

Clarifying that Milaap does not guarantee funds, he said: “the site offers video tutorials and tips to campaign organisers to raise funds more effectively and with ease. We have recently gone vernacular, as well, in our content. Post-demonetisation, there has been a hike in online payments.

“We charge a 5 per cent fee on the funds raised (excluding GST).”.

Millap’s founders — Viswanthan and Mayukh Choudhury had invested ₹15 lakhs toward promoting the venture.

“We received an angel funding of ₹35 lakh (Singapore $100,000) in 2010. Later in April 2013, the Government of Singapore supported us to the tune of ₹6 crore, which was utilised for design and development of the site.”

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Published on October 16, 2017
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