A crowd-fund in need is a friend indeed!

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How online platforms are helpingto raise funds for worthy causes

Mumbai, August 8



When actor-director Rajat Kapoor needed money for a project, and drew a blank with commercial film financiers, he turned to an unlikely source — Crowdera, an online crowd-sourced fund-raising platform — and raised Rs. 2.5 crore.

And ImpactGuru, another Mumbai-based crowd-funding platform, recently helped a family raise about Rs. 10 lakh in just a day to meet expenses following the death of a family member.

From helping people raise funds for medical treatment or for education to providing independent artists a financial lifeline, fund-raising platforms have set cash registers ringing in the Rs. 300-crore online donation market in India.

Many of them work on a 3-5 per cent commission, while others like Crowdera offerlarger non-profits, foundations and corporate entities a subscription model that lets them access advanced features.

Crowdera recently helped raise Rs. 20 lakh in two days for the treatment of a young cancer patient in Maharashtra. Founded in 2014, it has run about 195 campaigns funded by 3,500 donors from 35 countries, impacting over 15,000 lives. It is now looking to raise about $5 million in capital to expand its operations.

ImpactGuru, founded in Harvard University in 2015, has raised about Rs. 329 crore. It, too, is looking to raise pre-Series A funding of Rs. 15 crore.

ImpactGuru founder Piyush Jain told BusinessLine that crowd-funding for social causes is growing in India, but is largely an urban phenomenon owing to lack of awareness in small markets. “We are tying up with global and Indian NGOs to reach smaller markets,” he said.

Indicatively, ImpactGuru has partnered with Oxfam, SOS Children’s Village, Habitat for Humanity, Wockhardt, Dalberg and Asha Impact and has tie-ups with the Tata Group and Godrej. In collaboration with GlobalGiving, it offers tax benefits to donors in the US and the UK, especially the Indian diaspora, which accounts for half of online donations in India.

Chet Jain, who founded Crowdera in Silicon Valley in 2014, notes that crowd-funding campaigns are not just about providing medical aid. They could be for beach-cleaning, or funding a village school — or to help someone pursue a passion, be it movie-making or singing. The platform harnesses technology, data science, and old-fashioned paperwork procedures, to weed out fake campaigns.

A World Bank study estimates the global crowd-funding market to touch $96 billion by 2025. In India, the entry of players such as Wishberry, FuelADream and Ketto is fuelling the growth of the market.

While this space is currently unregulated, several companies told Business Line they would like SEBI to bring in regulations that will usher in more transparency in this segment.

Published on August 09, 2017
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