Just a few days ago, Alamelu from Tamil Nadu was able to raise USD $32,000 in just 24 hours through our platform. The funds raised went towards her son’s stem-cell transplant, who was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. It was a new record for us, as well as a testament to how far ImpactGuru has come since its inception in 2014–the seed for which, however, was sown back in 2013. While studying at Harvard, I witnessed the growth of crowdfunding in the United States. I was heavily influenced by the effectiveness and reach of the concept and presented a research paper on its potential application and feasibility in solving the most taxing social problems in India.
An effort to develop a business model by merging crowdfunding with financial technology (fintech) and curating it to be in sync with the social and economic framework in India was a natural progression from there on. In 2014, the expertise I gained from the Harvard Innovation Labs helped kickstart our venture and, soon enough, we had an operational team.
Healthcare crowdfunding- a solution to India’s healthcare woes
Initially, ImpactGuru largely focused on helping NGOs raise money for their causes. After gaining insights through our experience and from surveying the market, we discovered a major gap in the healthcare sector and decided to shift our focus on healthcare crowdfunding. Healthcare crowdfunding, to put simply, is an alternative method to raise funds online for medical expenses. The patient (or his/her friends or family) primarily relies on social media to reach a wide audience and mobilize donors to finance their medical bills.
At the time, there were very few players operating in the sector and we strived to fill that gap between the demand and supply for quality healthcare. Online medical crowdfunding gave people a platform to raise funds for getting quality treatment without having to worry about repaying it. Within a short span, we became a community and were able to impact lives. I vividly remember the day when Harish Rohra was able to raise his entire goal amount of $11,000, a first for us, and successfully got a kidney transplant done. At that juncture, I intuitively knew that we were on the right track. Recently, my co-founder Khushboo and I were featured on the 2019 list for Fortune India 40 under 40. This not only boosted our confidence but is also a testament to the impact we have been able to create in the sector.
Over the years, we have witnessed a rise in the culture of both asking and giving. Since our inception, over 350,000 donors have extended their financial support to over 20,000 patients through our platform. Crowdfunding has been able to leverage the goods of this transition by empowering not just the beneficiaries, but also the benefactors (donors). The transparency and efficiency of the medium have enabled philanthropists to confidently follow their heart, without having to worry about any misusage.
Diaspora: A pillar of strength to India’s cause
A huge factor, or force I must say, that has helped us in our entrepreneurial journey, is the Indian diaspora across the world, especially in the U.S. Besides being the flag bearers of our rich culture on foreign soil, they have been the pillars of strength in India’s fiscal growth. Living away from their motherland, their innate urge to contribute towards India’s growth yearned for a trustworthy enough platform. At ImpactGuru, we gave them that platform by enabling donations through multiple currencies (USD, AED, CAD, etc.), besides other benefits. In October 2018, 15-year-old Deekshit was able to raise U.S $23,000 in just 3 hours to save his ailing mother. This feat was achieved on the back of extensive sharing of the campaign, therefore helping it reach a wide audience, especially the Indian diaspora in the USA, in such a short time.
More than assets…
Something that has helped us truly accomplish the power of the Indian diaspora is forming strategic and meaningful partnerships with nonprofits and private hospitals. Our ability to accept donations in UK and US currencies was a direct outcome of our fruitful alliance with GlobalGiving.org, the world’s largest non-profit crowdfunding platform. We have also formed an equally rewarding partnership with Give2Asia.org, an international non-profit that facilitates charitable projects across Asia. This has enabled Indian NGOs that use ImpactGuru to offer tax benefits to donors based in Hong Kong. In May 2018, ImpactGuru raised US$2m/ Rs. 14 crores in Series A round co-led by Apollo Hospitals Group, Asia’s largest healthcare group.
Our takeaways: the most important lessons are also the simplest ones
Five years ago, crowdfunding was a largely unknown concept in India and healthcare crowdfunding was still in its earliest stages. But over the last five years, we have gained invaluable insights into compassion, philanthropy, and above all, the power of the crowd. We’ve extended a helping hand and have had our hand held. We’ve shed tears, both of joy and sorrow, and in the process, have come to realize the enormity of the responsibility on our shoulders. I am hopeful that all these insights will help us scale newer heights in the future.
Check out ImpactGuru.com’s website to learn more. You can also reach Piyush at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Labs in USA in 2014.
Customer testimonial video links:
- ImpactGuru.Com, Winner Of Maharashtra Startup Week 2019
- ImpactGuru.Com, An Initiative In Collab With NITI Aayog & Govt. Of India – Winner Of 2018 Top 3 Startups
- MedAchievers HEALTH NXT 2018 – Rising Startup Award
- TechCircle 2018 Public Choice Award – Best Social Impact Startup
- Businessworld Tectors Awards 2018 – Tech Companies To Watch Out For
- ImpactGuru.com Co-Founders Piyush and Khushboo Jain featured in 2019 Fortune 40 Under 40 list 2019
- ImpactGuru.com Co-Founder Piyush Jain, Winner of Entrepreneur India Awards 2019 – Social Entrepreneur Award category
Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, ImpactGuru.com
Piyush has both, educational and work experience in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. He has extensive experience in the fields of investment banking, management consulting and startups and has an acute insight into emerging markets. He also possesses experience across industries, a tri-sector leadership approach and is very conversant with tech ventures.
Piyush’s perspectives have been further enriched due to his stint in private sector companies like BCG, J.P. Morgan, Ernst & Young, public sector (Government of India) and non-profit sector (Instiglio), as well as with a Silicon Valley startup, So-Fi – world’s #1 fintech startup involved with funding.
Piyush holds an undergraduate degree from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Joseph Wharton Scholar, and a graduate degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. At Harvard, he assisted Professor Thornburg in teaching a class on Financial Management in Non-profit Organizations. He has co-authored a paper at Harvard Business School on innovative ways to finance entrepreneurial and social ventures and did his graduate capstone exercise at Harvard on crowdfunding and CSR.