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'The potential for crowdfunding is immense in India' - Piyush Jain, CEO & Co-founder, Impact Guru

"The potential for crowdfunding is immense in India for many reasons: First, the total size of philanthropy and personal crowdfunding market is estimated to be greater than $60bn. India has the highest number of NGOs in the world at 33 lakh and less than 1% of their fundraising is completely online as compared to 7% in US. Secondly, India has about 350 million people who indulge in giving to various religious and social causes every year, which is the largest in the world. Thirdly, internet penetration and credit card penetration is increasingly rapidly, bringing more and more people online."- Piyush Jain, CEO & Co-founder, Impact Guru.

Impact Guru is an online fundraising and crowdfunding platform that helps non-profits, social enterprises, startups, and individuals raise money or donate to causes or projects. Impact Guru offers a complete crowdfunding solution that combines social or donation crowdfunding, rewards crowdfunding for individuals, nonprofits, social enterprises, or startups for all their fundraising needs - be it small or large. The company was incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab’s Venture Initiation Program in USA in 2014 and PACT at Impact Hub in Singapore in 2015. Impact Guru has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco.

In an exclusive interview with Startup Terminal;  Piyush Jain, CEO & Co-founder of Impact Guru tells more about the venture and future goals. 

Piyush Jain, CEO & Co-founder, Impact Guru
Excerpts:

ST: What inspired you to make your mark in the field of entrepreneurship? 

Piyush Jain: I believe everyone has the desire to give, the problem is, many don’t know how? I recall one defining moment, when I decided that I wanted to give back to the society when I volunteered for an orphanage in India. That experience taught me that I was lucky to be born with some privileges – to have a family, to live in a home, to go to school, while a significant section of society wasn’t so fortunate. 

My dream was simple, to enable people, to give. To empower individuals to support their favourite cause by engaging their family and friends…this dream inspired, into the conception of Impact Guru, a crowdfunding platform.  For me, Impact Guru is a constant reminder to myself, of that one defining moment.

ST: When did you start your venture? Please tell us more about your venture.

Piyush Jain: The company was incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab’s Venture Initiation Program in USA in 2014. Impact Guru has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco.

ST: What business opportunities do you see particularly in your sector- online fundraising and crowdfunding platform?

Piyush Jain:The potential for crowdfunding is immense in India for many reasons: First, the total size of philanthropy and personal crowdfunding market is estimated to be greater than $60bn. India has the highest number of NGOs in the world at 33 lakh and less than 1% of their fundraising is completely online as compared to 7% in US. Secondly, India has about 350 million people who indulge in giving to various religious and social causes every year, which is the largest in the world. Thirdly, internet penetration and credit card penetration is increasingly rapidly, bringing more and more people online.

Impact Guru has already partnered with nonprofits such as World Vision India, Oxfam, SOS Children's Village, Habitat for Humanity; CSR departments of Tata, Godrej, and Wockhardt; impact focused organizations such as Dalberg and Asha Impact; international Indian community organizations such as TiE in a relatively short span of time since its launch in August 2015.




ST: How has been your entrepreneurship journey so far? 

Piyush Jain: Well, I would say both. We have successfully managed to raise a seed round of US $500,000 (Rs 3.3 crores) so far from RB Investments, a Singapore based venture capital firm, and Fundnel, a private investment platform based in Southeast Asia in April 2016. Since our launch in August 2015, Impact Guru and its partners have raised more than Rs 329 crores/ US$49mm to support more than 1000 causes and organizations, which has accelerated our revenue growth. We will continue to seek more investment funding given the large market opportunity in front of us while identifying new revenue streams and accelerating revenue growth to achieve break even as soon as possible.

ST: As an entrepreneur, what challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?

Piyush Jain: Of course, there are quite a number of challenges that come with being an entrepreneur, especially in the crowdfunding sector where we still need to educate a lot of our clients as well as our employees on what crowdfunding is and how it works. The biggest challenge, though, is to be able to achieve more with less resources. We are still a new company and though we are growing tremendously, we need to constantly be very judicious about our resources. The biggest learning here is how to use what you have in the best way possible to achieve your goal. 

A more day-to-day challenge is to tackle things as they come. There are some problems you can't foresee and those are usually the ones that need quick solutions. When you are leading a team, everyone looks up to you to have all the answers. But, sometimes you don't have the answers because you are learning in the whole process too. However, it's important to motivate your team at that point by providing the best answer you can.

Entrepreneurship is a unique journey for each one. One has to walk the road to know what it's like. 
     
ST: How big is your team? Are you planning to hire more?

Piyush Jain: The Team Size is around 30 people, yes we will be recruiting more people in this year.

ST: What are your future plans? 

Piyush Jain: My main goal over the next 5 years is to make Impact Guru, India’s #1 fundraising platform for nonprofits, social enterprises, personal causes, and creative ideas. We will look to achieve that ambition by expanding in new markets, developing new products and services, and having relentless focus on execution.

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