While many of us have skills to turn ideas into reality, we are often devoid of enough financial support. To rescue such dreams, the concept of crowd funding is slowly establishing its roots in India. Notably, crowd funding is a process to raise funds for anything you believe in. All you need to do is convince the people to invest in your idea, humanitarian efforts or charity. If they believe in it; they will donate!
Although crowd funding websites are not common in India there is one such domain which is helping Indians do what their hearts want.
Ketto, based in Mumbai, is Asia’s largest online fundraising website to raise funds for social, creative and personal causes from a large number of people who share your passion or concern. Founded by Varun Sheth, Kunal Kapoor, and Zaheer Adenwala in 2012, Ketto raised INR 4.5 million for 18 campaigns in their very first year in the league.
As Varun quit his high-paying job, he was keen on exploring the possibilities the initiative had to offer. While his idea is incubating dreams, it is also educating people with the kind of content they put out on the website. Their causes range from education to women’s empowerment.
“I was super inspired by Vinod Khosla and his venture Impact Fund. I liked how he was willing to invest in a field that wasn’t explored much in India. One fine day, I decided to take that leap of faith and quit my job to start Ketto”, says Varun.
Ketto, which stands for Key To Tomorrow, which is functional for 4 years now have had a number of remarkably successful campaigns mainly focusing on social domains. It also helps non-profit organisations to raise funds for supported and listed causes by connecting them to companies and individuals.
As they help organise a functional online support network to bring individuals closer to the cause they wish to support, they are backed by premier organisations such as Google Grants, London Business School, Kwan.in and a few others.
“There’s still a huge gap between such platforms and the audience that actually feels the need to raise funds. So more than fighting for mindshare our larger objective still remains creating awareness about the platform and its advantages. Basically, make the choice of crowd funding popular and fun”, opines Varun.
Among its famous campaigns, was that for Sagar Dorji, a four-year-old boy from Lakhimpur in the northeastern Indian state of Assam who developed a form of blood cancer in August 2016.
As they began the campaign, over hundred people from India, as well as internationally, came together to raise Rs. 3,41,554 to get him out of his misery.
While in another such initiative, Mr Narayana Peesapaty, the founder of Bakeys Edible Cutlery started a campaign on Ketto and raised about Rs.7 lakhs which were more than his set goal amount!
Among Ketto’s other successful campaigns is Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), an NGO that supports Indian athletes. It raised INR 1 million and sent athlete Shiva Keshavan to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Additionally, Ketto ran another high-profile campaign with Olympic Gold Quest to raise funds for four more athletes competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and the 2014 Asian Games.
While there is a lack of awareness about raising funds online, Ketto continues to work towards their sole objective of raising funds in a far more transparent, engaging and cost effective manner amidst saving lives and dreams.