Piyush and Khushboo began their entrepreneurial career with a mission to help India’s people find crowdfunding solutions for healthcare, social change, and personal and creative projects. From raising Rs. 25 lakhs for a primary school teacher’s liver transplant, to weeks back having popular actress Sunny Leone setup a fundraiser on ImpactGuru to raise funds for her team member’s kidney transplant has been a wonderful journey for them. Earlier Piyush shared about his success & entrepreneurship in conversation with The Articles Today:
What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Talk about your organization.
Entrepreneurship is the best way to accelerate learning and growth as a business professional.
My wife, Khushboo Jain and I co-founded ImpactGuru.com with a mission to help India’s people find crowdfunding solutions for healthcare, social change, personal and creative projects. ImpactGuru.com, a fintech company, is India’s largest crowdfunding platform for medical expenses, personal causes and non-profits. The company was incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab in USA in 2014.
Why did you chose to start up in the social-impact space?
I was keen on a business model that would add value and meaning to the community. Hence, ImpactGuru.com was born with a mission to make healthcare accessible to all and save more lives. Here are a few brilliant examples of the massive scale of crowdfunding at ImpactGuru:
• Mumbai resident Amit Shenoy, admitted at Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai raised Rs. 45 lakhs in 7 days through ImpactGuru for his Allogenic Stem Cell transplant.
• 15-Year-old Deekshit required funds for his mother’s rectal prolapse surgery. Deeekshit’s fundraiser surpassed the target goal of 15 lakhs in 3. 5 hours on ImpactGuru.
• 2-year-old orphan Arushi raised Rs. 17 lakhs in 6 hours. Her grandparents put up a fundraiser as Arushi required funds for her leg surgery as she was diagnosed with pseudarthrosis of tibia.
Talk about your initial journey. The struggles & how you overcame the same.
• According to experts, start-ups have a success rate of less than 2%. Initially, each day brought about a new set of challenges but I continued to focus on the micro details and not lose out on what I was trying to achieve. Till we reached a point where there was an operational team, everything from preparation, research and brainstorming was driven by us.
• Internet entrepreneurship is tough. We had very few customers two years back. I asked for guidance from advisors who told me to be patient. I started pitching to investors and raised Rs 3.3 crores from a VC fund. The business turned around. Today, we are regarded among the top 3 players in India.
What are the defining moments in your startup career so far?
• The process to witness ImpactGuru.com impact more than 10,000 lives within a span of 4 years has been a wonderful journey. There has been a drastic change in the way one seeks financial help for medical, NGOs and personal causes, now, to what it was before.
• What makes ImpactGuru.com stand out is we are the only crowdfunding platform to have their own storybuilder to help customers write great stories as it’s a major pain point in the industry today. We built an AI-supported storybuilder for medical fundraisers, with a template for all campaigners to develop their own standardized campaign stories.
• We have a strategic partnership with GlobalGiving.org, the world’s largest nonprofit crowdfunding platform based in US and UK. We are the only crowdfunding platform in the world that can offer Indian, US, and UK tax benefits to Indian and international donors.
• We are also the first crowdfunding player in India to launch a smartphone app for customers with the Android app already available for download. The Android app presents the user with a quick view of their fundraiser, thus enabling them to keep track of the progress of the campaign, get real-time donation notifications, and post updates.
• In May 2018, we announced our $2mm Series A round co-led by Apollo Hospitals Group, Asia’s largest and most trusted healthcare group and Venture Catalysts, India’s first integrated incubator. In November 2018, Shorooq Investments, Silicon Valley style venture capital firm based in Abu Dhabi and several angel investors from the GCC region joined our Series A Round. This partnership makes ImpactGuru the preferred crowdfunding platform for all Apollo patients nationwide.
What inspires you to keep going?
The strong passion to make a difference in the lives of people and the persistence to achieve the mission to save more lives will continue to keep me going.
What are your observations/ learnings in the field of social entrepreneurship?
Social problems are so immense in India, that often one can get disillusioned by the impact one creates i.e. whether one’s intervention is moving the needle or not. At ImpactGuru, we often face an ethical dilemma. Private hospitals will not proceed with treatment without the funds, say of 5 children whom are near death without a critical emergency surgery. It is an overwhelming feeling as we will be disappointing someone or maybe more as we have limited resources as an organization and limited donors to reach out to fund each of the 5 surgeries successfully.
It’s very important to keep the perspective that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We thus pick cases where we can have the maximum impact given the short time. We select cases such as transplant, heart surgeries, cancer rather than dengue & malaria.
What is your message to people wanting to start up in the social space?
To that someone who has started their social entrepreneurial journey, it’s imperative to gradually build momentum from every step of progress. Just like culture eats strategy for lunch, positivism eats challenges for breakfast in social entrepreneurship.