Category - Media Room

Ketto targets $100m by crowdfunding; gets $700k investment led by Calcutta Angels & The Chennai Angels

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July 16, 2015, Mumbai

Mumbai based crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects – Ketto has raised $700k in funding led by Pradyumna Dalmia, deal champion of Calcutta Angels and Sudhir Rao, deal champion of The Chennai Angels and co-founder of IndusAge Partners.

The other investors in the round include – Singapore Angel Network, Anupam Mittal, Indian Internet Fund, Letsventure, Chennai Angels, Calcutta Angels, Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N), Ah Ventures, and Project Guerrilla.

With the infused funds, the startup plans to double its technology and business development team with an aim to reach $100m in volumes by crowdfunding.

Ketto also plans to expand operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, among other South-East Asian countries.

Founded in October, 2012 by Varun Sheth, Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor and Zaheer Adenwala, Ketto is Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects, according to crowdsurfer.com.

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The company has witnessed a growth of 3000% year-on-year basis in terms of volumes, and in the past few months, has been crowdfunding close to a crore monthly.

In the last 12 months, multiple celebrities & corporates have backed various projects by raising funds on Ketto. The list includes names like – Hritik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan, Anuskha Sharma, Myntra, StarSports, among others.

Recently, Ketto has created first-of-its-kind partnership with Lakme Fashion Week – to provide a platform to the seven Gen Next designers to garner funds to launch their label at the upcoming showcase in August, 2015 in Mumbai.

With global crowdfunding market estimated to reach $96bn by 2025, and Asia being the key growth driver, Ketto is uniquely positioned to amass maximum support for a project of any kind – be it disaster, social, technology, creative or personal.

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Bhakti Sharma Does It Again!

Open-water swimmer Bhakti Sharma Tweets about breaking world record

Ketto is proud to be part of world record holder, open-water swimmer Bhakti Sharma’s amazing success.

If you were to meet her in passing, Bhakti Sharma would seem like just another twenty-something lass, making her way into adulthood. If you were to delve just a little bit deeper, you would realise you’re in the presence of some incredible talent.

This young lady is an open-water swimmer par excellence. Why are we using a superlative to describe her? Why a fancy French one at that? Because it’s a spot on description of the talented young lady! After all, Bhakti has just broken all kinds of world records! She just set a new world record by swimming 1.4 miles of the freezing Antarctic Ocean (it was at a temperature of one degree Celsius), in an amazing 52 minutes.

And that’s not all. She has now swum in all five oceans of the world, in addition to other water bodies. “I’ve broken the #WorldRecord for being the ‘Youngest swimmer in the World to #swim in all oceans’,” she Tweets. Bhakti has conquered the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and now the Antarctic Ocean. She’s also swum the English Channel, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea and others.

Why is Ketto bursting with pride and excitement? Because Bhakti Sharma campaigned on our website and successfully raised nearly 8 lakhs for her swim in the Antarctic Ocean, dedicating it to girl-child education. We are proud as peacocks to be part of Bhakti’s mission to conquer the Antarctic and the world!

Bhakti adds, “I have just broken a World Record for my country, #India! Thank you all for your #support!” In a country where most sports (save cricket) are severely marginalized, we’re honoured to be able to provide talented sportspeople an avenue to gather support. Ketto is proud to be part of Bhakti’s success and India’s progress.

Here’s to more laurels for Bhakti Sharma and for India!

Want to know more about Bhakti? Click me!
Want to check out her campaign? Click me!
Want to gather support for your own talent? Click to get started!

The Year That Was (Highlights of 2014)

Review of year 2014

Catch the highlights of Ketto’s journey through the year 2014.

By co-founder and CEO, Varun Sheth

The year 2014 has been eventful, to say the least. We launched Ketto 2.0 in June 2014 and it’s been one milestone after the next since. The second half of year 2014 amazed us. Over 300 campaigns ran on Ketto this past year.  Over 6000 supporters rallied together from more than 20 countries to raise above Rs.2 crore for some awesome, heartfelt causes. There were some incredible campaigns that really showed the world what generosity of spirit is all about.

It’s been an incredible journey for Ketto. We saw a huge rise in individual participation, with people starting their own campaigns for social change. We also launched a new feature called the “microsite” which allows NGOs, events & corporates to run their own fundraising website on the Ketto platform.

We’ve rounded off the year with more amazing developments. Ketto has now opened its doors to creative projects. So artistes, musicians, filmmakers, creators of all kinds can now start crowdfunding their creative projects on our crowdfunding website. Talk about ending the year with a bang!

We can’t wait for 2015 to get started!

Here are just a few highs to remember 2014 by.

sportsSports

Indians came together to support their sportspeople. Several campaigns were run by and for Olympic Gold Quest and GoSports Foundation. Luger Shiva Keshavan, speed walker KT Irfan, rifle shooters Ayonika Paul and Pooja Ghatkar, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, para-athlete Rajni Jha and swimmer Supriyo Mondal are just some of the wickedly talented sportspeople who got the funds they needed to train and participate in the Winter & Youth Olympics, Asian games and commonwealth games! And yes, they won several medals along the way!

 

marathonsMarathons

There have been several marathons that campaigners have used to propel their social causes forward. Hyderabad Marathon, Bengaluru Marathon, Mumbai Marathon, Boston Heartbreak Marathon are just a few. Then there was Pinkathon, the marathon event that raised awareness for breast cancer. Several marathoners chose to start campaigns to raise both awareness and funds for breast cancer treatment. Footsteps4Good was another themed marathon that asked participants to fundraise for a social cause. Several participants chose to do it online on Ketto, much to our pleasure!

 

animal welfareAnimal Welfare

Our furry friends were not forgotten. TIGI Foundation ran an amazing campaign to build an animal shelter. The NGO pulled out all the stops by organizing a football event and promoting it with a campaign on Ketto. Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Imraan Khan and several others attended and played on the football field. All in support of TIGI’s fundraising campaign. What an event it was!

It wasn’t all glitz and glam though. NGO Alokparna Sengupat ran a campaign to protect animals from being needlessly sacrificed at Gandhimai, raising funds and awareness for the noble cause.

 

Womens EmpowermentWomen’s Empowerment

Women’s empowerment took a big step this year. The NGO YUWA joined forces with the channel Star Sports to help send a football team consisting of Jharkhand’s tribal girls to participate in the USA Cup. They ran multiple campaigns and promoted their cause on television as well. The result? Well, the girls went to the USA Cup and did India proud.

Khabar Lahariya, a rural-language newspaper run entirely by rural women, ran a massive 12th anniversary campaign to keep their groundbreaking newspaper going strong. Many individuals started campaigns in support of the newspaper, and their anniversary campaign certainly was a happy one!

 

kashmirDisaster Relief

The devastating Jammu & Kashmir floods saw Ketto spurring into action. We partnered with Care India and within minutes, help began to pour in from all corners of the globe. Celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kunal Kapoor, Dia Mirza and Nargis Fakhri began campaigns in aid of the flood victims. Fans of the celebrities rallied in support of their favourite actor’s campaign and some even began their own campaigns to support the cause further. The initiative showed the true spirit of our nation’s people.

 

healthHealth

Jasmeet Singh Gandhi ran an amazing campaign for the cause of childhood eye cancer. He called his campaign Umeed 1000, and chose to bicycle 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bengaluru to raise awareness and funds to treat children affected by retinoblastoma (eye cancer). This incredible campaigner promoted his cause heavily and drew in seven corporate sponsors in addition to individual supporters. What a campaign this was!

 

educationEducation

The red light area and all its inhabitants may be taboo in polite society, but people sure did come together in support of a worthy cause. Shweta Katti, the daughter of a sex worker, had earned a scholarship to study at New York’s Bard University but needed funding for living and other expenses. Her campaign on Ketto got her all the funding she needed. This was a campaign that brought a young girl’s dream to life!

 

dcbEmployee Engagement & Hiring

Here are some heartwarming campaigns with Corporate Social Responsibility. DCB Bank used Ketto’s crowdfunding platform as a task for one of their recruitment rounds. Several prospective employees were given a deadline within which to raise as much as they could for the Jammu & Kashmir flood victims. A healthy competition with heart!

 

personalPersonal Causes

We had some fascinating campaigns run by people for their own noble causes. Like Bhakti Sharma, an open-water swimmer, who campaigned to raise funds to swim the Antarctica (the coldest ocean on Earth). There was also the campaign for teenage karate prodigies Bhavisha Singh, Sharmila Gharu and Divya Kathawate that gathered hundreds of supporters. The girls have won hundreds of medals but are still unknown. Logical Indian decided to campaign for the teenagers and hundreds of very logical Indians joined the effort too!

Then there’s Vivek Vashist’s memorable campaign. A Teach for India fellow, he planned to bicycle from Delhi’s India Gate to Mumbai’s Gateway of India to raise awareness about the environment and funds to participate in the International Antarctic Expedition. What an inspiration!

And the most endearing campaign of them all is for Vijayan and Mohanna, an elderly Kochi couple who owns a little tea stall. What is so inspiring about them is that they have travelled the world with the earnings they make. They take a loan to travel and then work the next three years to repay the loan. The news website The News Minute decided to campaign to help them visit the United States since their age is causing banks to reject loans. The campaign raised a good amount for the Kochi couple, and we wish them happy journeys!

 

Social EntrepreneurshipSocial Entrepreneurship

Aakar Innovations, a for-profit social enterprise founded by two young and passionate social entrepreneurs, began a brilliant campaign to raise awareness and funds for women’s empowerment. Their initiative involved not only educating underprivileged women on sanitary habits but teaching them how to make low-cost sanitary pads and promote sanitary awareness. A truly empowering initiative!

The year that was has been an amazing ride for Ketto. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Here’s to the future. Here’s to a better world. Here’s to seeing some incredible creative projects come to life. To infinity and beyond!

– Varun Sheth

The Birthday Campaign (Radhya’s First-Birthday Campaign)

Save The Children

These doting parents weren’t just thinking of a big bash for their daughter’s first birthday. They were thinking of something on a much larger scale…

Vasuprada and Pradyumna Dalmia are the doting parents of now one-year-old Radhya. In the period leading up to their daughter’s very first birthday – a momentous occasion for any parent – the couple wanted to do something truly significant. They wanted to make sure the milestone of Radhya’s first birthday – 27th November 2014 – was something that would positively impact not just their own lives and that of little Radhya’s, but many others as well.

They weren’t just thinking of a massive birthday celebration with friends and family. They were thinking of a one-month-long birthday campaign benefitting underprivileged children in India.

The reasoning was straightforward, simple and heartfelt, as Pradyumna stated on their campaign page: “We are fortunate enough to be able to provide a safe, healthy and happy environment for our children to grow up in and would go out of our way to ensure that our kids receive the very best of everything. Unfortunately, this is not true for a lot of children across our country who live a life of deprivation and destitution. So let us provide some hope to these children and tell them they are not alone.”

Vasuprada and Pradyumna began Radhya’s month-long birthday campaign on Ketto with the aim of raising 1 lakh rupees benefitting the NGO Save The Children’s Indian chapter. They also pledged to match the total amount fundraised, urging their family and friends to help them raise a lakh so a total of two lakhs could be donated to the NGO. “This is the best birthday gift Radhya could get from you!” they told their supporters.

Who could possibly resist such a request?! Friends and family came together in strength and support for this wonderful cause. The campaign drew 24 supporters, raising a hefty 85,400 rupees within a month, to mark Radhya’s first birthday.  Adding the matching donation as vowed by Vasuprada and Pradyumna, a grand total of 1,70,800 rupees will be donated to Save The Children, India, going towards various aspects of childcare – maternal healthcare and nurturing for the health of unborn children, protecting children from child labour and child trafficking, ensuring they get a wholesome education, and providing them support during natural disasters.

What a wonderful way to usher in a child’s birthday!

Feeling inspired? Want to start a campaign too? Go for it!

 

The New Phase (Launch of Creative Projects)

Creative image for launch of creative project category on Ketto

Here’s the fateful story of three guys who started a crowdfunding website, Ketto, to make the world a better place, and  what they’re up to now. Hint: It’s pretty creative! 

The Beginning

The story of Ketto is the handiwork of fate. It was the mysterious forces of destiny that brought together the three founders of the crowdfunding website. That and the dream of a better world. How did it all begin? Well, the story goes that actor Kunal Kapoor, who supports several charities, had been noticing the challenges NGOs repeatedly faced while fundraising, and wanted to ease their struggle. He began thinking of ways to make this happen.

At around this time, it began to dawn on finance professional Varun Sheth that he didn’t just want to make crores for his clients; he also wanted those crores to have a significant social impact, to better the world in some way. He began keenly observing the business paradigm of social causes and soon quit his job to focus on it entirely.

Within the same timeframe, Zaheer Adenwala, a technology professional, had been tinkering with the idea of transferring the fundraising model onto an online platform. He felt that India’s time had come and wanted to take the country’s social sector into the age of technology.

This is when fate intervened and brought these three individuals together. The trio happened to meet, they chatted, they realised they had the same passion for positive change, and they decided to sync forces and bring their ideas to life.

That’s how Ketto came to be launched on none other than India’s Independence Day (15th August) in 2012.

The Evolution

Ketto began as a simple vehicle for charitable organisations to gain independence, so to speak; to be able to fundraise more efficiently, quickly, easily and safely. Soon, it became a vehicle of independence not just for charities but for individuals too. People began to not just give to their favourite charities in a secure online space, but also began to fundraise for the NGOs themselves.

The journey to empowerment was set. What followed next was its evolution. Next came the ‘microsite’, a mini-website where NGOs could not only have their own campaign page but their own NGO website within Ketto, complete with branding, logo placement and their customised URL. This site or host page displayed the campaigns started for the NGO by their supporters.

The next wave came through corporations who began to start their own microsites on Ketto, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Several professionals began campaigns under the umbrella of a corporate to raise funds for an NGO – all displayed on corporate microsites.

Then Ketto took it further. We gave corporations the opportunity to use our fundraising platform as a tool for recruitment and as a team building exercise. Fundraising became a task with a deadline, given to recruits. It also became a fun competition for departments within corporations. Ketto became a multifaceted website offering several services, all for a good cause.

The New Launch

This brings us to the newest phase. We announce the launch of a brand new facet to fundraising on Ketto – the creative projects genre. This category allows anyone who wants to fundraise for a creative project to start campaigning for it on Ketto. A film, a book, a fashion line, a dance performance, a play, a music album – any creative project at all.

Today, Ketto is a tool of and for empowerment, of and for the mind and soul. Ketto is the key to a better tomorrow. On that note, we open the doors to all your creative dreams. Because every good cause deserves support.

Start crowdfunding your creative project here!

 

Doing Good Is In Vogue! (Vogue India magazine’s #VogueEmpower movement)

Vogue India empower movement

Fashion magazine Vogue India is empowering women as part of their seventh anniversary celebration.

Fame is a powerful medium. Team Ketto knows this for a fact, thanks to co-founder Kunal Kapoor who uses his Bollywood celebrity to promote social good. (We believe he has an infinite resource of good karma because of this. Kudos to him!)

Fame isn’t the only powerful entity out there, though. Fashion is a powerhouse too. Think about it – fashion has been known to influence not just our choice of attire, but thought, opinion and lifestyle too. Keeping in mind that with great power comes great responsibility, Team Ketto is happy to share that fashion magazine Vogue India has chosen to use their superpowers for good. For social good. How very good!

Vogue India kicks in their seventh anniversary celebrations this October with a massive movement focusing on women’s empowerment. The aim of #VogueEmpower is to foster a spirit of agency and change. The fashion monthly’s multipronged approach towards effecting positive change is both haute and cool!

Vogue India editor Priya Tanna says, “The idea is to engage with Vogue’s circle of influencers and thought leaders to become our pledge-makers, our agents of change.” The magazine talks the talk in their latest issue, featuring incredible real-life stories and soul-stirring manifestos of inspirational women like journalist Barkha Dutt and social activist Kiran Bedi.

The magazine also walks the walk. They’ve enlisted 100 pledges from people like actor-activist Aamir Khan who has pledged to spread the word about #VogueEmpower via social media. The actor has also joined hands with Ketto via his socially conscious show Satyameva Jayate that raises social awareness and urges people to give to various social causes.  Aamir Khan was also part of the Tigi Foundation charity football fundraiser that raised funds for an animal shelter. In short, Ketto salutes Aamir Khan!

Another ambassador for #VogueEmpower is Anupama Sharma, who has pledged one lakh rupees each year towards the Ketto fundraiser for Khabar Lahariya, a rural women-run newspaper circulated in UP and Bihar. This all-women run newspaper is breaking journalistic ground with their fearless coverage of local rural news. The newspaper recently celebrated their twelfth anniversary by asking their supporters to fundraise for them. The campaigns have collectively raised nearly thirteen lakhs for the newspaper. Three cheers for the amazing spirit of goodness and change!

#VogueEmpower hasn’t stopped there. The fashion magazine has collaborated with brands to fuel the movement further. Gucci has devoted space on their website for #VogueEmpower supporters to donate and give back for a good cause. And the magazine has enlisted Louis Vuitton as an agent for change – the brand has joined hands with NGO DakshinaChitra that works to educate women.

Looks like it’s getting more and more fashionable to be a change-maker!

Want to be part of the change? Give back to a good cause!

Click and choose a campaign to support!

Be an agent of change by starting your own fundraiser. Click here!

 

Newsworthy! (Ketto in the media)

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The media is buzzing about the busy bees at Ketto!

Ketto has had some fascinating campaigns recently! There are several people raising funds for Khabar Lahariya, a rural-run, local-language, all-female newspaper that is making path-breaking strides in the field of news journalism. You’ve got to check out the images on all their pages! Stunning, if we say so ourselves!

It’s also marathon season, with the 2014 Airtel Hyderabad Marathon just around the corner (24th August). Several marathoners have chosen to start campaigns and raise funds for their favourite charities, and we support them all the way!

Bollywood joined the crowdfunding bandwagon in a big way this month! Celebrities like Aamir Khan, Imran Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and several others came together to ‘Bend it Like Bollywood’ at a charity football game organized by Tigi Foundation, an NGO for the welfare of animals, founded by psychoanalyst Nuzhat Khan. The campaign had some exciting rewards to offer its supporters, and we’re thrilled fans of Bollywood took advantage of them!

With so much happening at Ketto, it isn’t surprising that the media wanted the scoop on our latest news and campaigns. Do check out the interesting interview of Ketto Co-Founder Kunal Kapoor, reported by The Hindu.

Ketto: The Beginning

Kunal-Kapoor

Read the inspiring article on Ketto founders Kunal Kapoor and Varun Sheth by YourStory, a website profiling exciting entrepreneurs and start-ups in India and abroad. Learn about the beginnings of the duo’s partnership at Ketto. And what actor and activist Shabana Azmi thinks about our crowdfunding  site!

Excerpt:

With the growing influence of social media and the internet in a fast-growing, young Indian population, actor Kunal Kapoor has launched Ketto along with Varun Seth, a first-time entrepreneur. Ketto is an online ‘giving’ platform where you can start giving with as little as Rs 100. Kunal, with the help of his friends and his agency Kwan Foundation, looks to bring individuals and corporates from all fields together to support their favorite causes, bringing the ‘fun’ to fundraising. Varun has previously worked for social causes and is very much clued into the area as well.

Ketto was launched on Aug 15th, 2012 and is looking to partner with multiple brands to raise funds for the 20+ charities listed on its platform. Most recently, Ketto has partnered with Mijwan Welfare Society, an NGO run by Shabana Azmi for women’s empowerment, as well as Ogaan Cancer Foundation’s initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness. They haven’t been aggressive on promotion till now but will be aggressive now and will try and raise around INR 80 lakhs in the coming year.

shabana-and-mary-kom-MWS

Talking about Mijwan’s alignment with Ketto, Shabana Azmi says, “Earlier, Mijwan Welfare Society did not have access to raise funds online, but with the growing influence of the internet, we felt it was the right time to get on. We wanted to reach out to the youth and the mass at large and raising funds online is a part of it. Ketto has provided a platform for Mijwan and other NGOs to raise funds from all over the world in an easy and safe way. I am certain this is the way forward.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Zaheer Adenwala: Merging Social Cause And Technology

 

zaheer adenwala

He has a strong background in product development and a yearning to constantly innovate, adapt and move forward. That is why Zaheer Adenwala co-founded Ketto along with Varun Sheth and Kunal Kapoor. He wanted to  help bring charitable giving into the virtual space. And keep it simple, safe and fun.

Having previously worked on the development of search engines and crowdfunding platforms at respected Indian advertising agency Affinity, Zaheer’s interests and skills are both varied and dynamic. When he is not busy making charity cool, Zaheer spends his time preparing for marathons.

Here’s more on how Zaheer brought the spirit of giving online, his thoughts on the role of technology in crowdfunding and how you can give back to society.

What role has technology played in effecting social change in India and the world?

Technology has made the world a smaller and a more easily accessible place. I believe that the biggest change in social activity due to technology is yet to come in India, whereas it already exists in western countries. But the change has begun and it’s growing at a rapid pace.

In India, charity largely exists in the offline space where people conventionally make donations via checks and cash, within their comfort zone. But since the emergence of e-commerce platforms, the users’ apprehension in making transactions online is continuously changing and people are gradually getting more comfortable with this concept. The increased size of the audience also helps in achieving large numbers, even with really small ticket sizes. For example, ten people donating Rs. 10,000 each is equivalent to 1000 people donating Rs.100 each.

Technology gives all NGOs and other organizations looking to raise funds for projects an excellent platform to showcase their work. It also gives access to over ten times their target audience, which until sometime back was limited to previous donors and a select set of email databases they owned. With Ketto, they can potentially reach out to every individual who is looking to give, since we run extensive marketing campaigns not only on their existing network but on Google, Facebook and other social media platforms as well. These are not limited to the Indian audience alone. We are currently getting 50% of our donations from the United States of America.

What was your vision for Ketto when you started and what is it today?

The vision for Ketto has been simple: make existing causes accessible to all internet users in a fun way. We strongly believe that donations should be driven by empathy and not by sympathy. The conventional methods work in quite the opposite way. Giving in India is viewed as serious and a duty due to the nature of the process. At  Ketto we are looking to change this mindset by making it lighter and fun.

The vision hasn’t changed much in terms of the beliefs. However, we now plan to offer rewards and giveaways to donors. It’s not just about the feel-good factor of contributing towards a good cause.

What is your vision for Ketto in the coming years and how do you see it growing?

The vision for Ketto’s future is to make it a one-stop solution for every individual who is looking to give back. We intend to partner with large organizations and are looking at working with them to help channel their Corporate Social Responsibility funds in the right direction.

In addition, we would also like to open our platform to anybody with a compelling cause who is looking to raise money for their cause, be it a short film, music video, sports team, etc.

Kickstarter, the biggest crowdfunding platform in the world, raised $480 million in 2013. In India, as the number of internet users increases (it’s growing exponentially each year), the crowdfunding pie is going to become bigger. At Ketto, we are looking at establishing ourselves by contributing over 30% of total funds raised.

How has the crowdfunding landscape changed in India?

The crowdfunding model is evolving in India and Ketto is one of the players trying to create this change. From raising money via known sources and networks to reaching out to people who have no association with the project whatsoever, we have come a long way. With technology, people have access to more campaigns being run in various parts of the country, giving them a wide variety to choose from. As mentioned earlier, this is applicable to the huge number of non-resident Indians living abroad as well.

What role has Ketto played in changing the dynamics of giving in India?

It’s extremely early to gauge Ketto’s impact as yet. However, we have conducted a few extremely successful campaigns that we believe are our first steps towards establishing Ketto as a strong crowdfunding partner for organizations.

Giving in India is linked with certain inhibitions that Ketto is looking to eliminate:

1. Credibility: We do thorough due diligence on every non-governmental organization before they are part of the system and a detailed report on fund utilization is created post the completion of the campaign.

2. Giving is a slow process: Through Ketto, it is literally a two-step process – choose the cause and NGO, and make a donation. It is really that simple.

3. Giving is only for the super rich: Small amounts of support also make a difference on Ketto.

We encourage individuals to not only give but also start campaigns for causes of their choice, where they leverage their personal and social networks to raise bigger sums of support than they would not have been able to afford alone.

What steps can individuals take towards contributing to a social cause?

Ketto makes finding a campaign extremely easy for the user by giving them multiple filters to zero-in on what they’re looking for. For users who are not entirely sure about this data, we also have a business team that features campaigns every week that we feel need the most attention.

We believe that even a small amount like Rs 100 counts, so we are constantly trying to motivate individuals to give, as opposed to focusing on the amount given.

 

Varun Sheth: Financier, Entrepreneur, Giver

I_Quit

With a strict, no-nonsense attitude towards making charity simple, Ketto’s Founder and CEO Varun Sheth wanted to cut the drama around charity and giving, to make it fun and accessible to the young, progressive population of India. After graduating from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics in Bombay and working at leading financial institutions like ICAP and SCPL, it’s not surprising that the idea for starting Ketto came to Varun at a TED conference. A strong background in finance, a passion for crowdfunding and the drive to create something revolutionary led Varun to quit his job and begin laying the foundation of Ketto.

After months of research, Ketto was founded on August 15, 2012 and in a short span of time, has created an admirable niche for itself, helping empower the youth of this country to  effect social change.

Here is Varun’s take on the evolving landscape of crowdfunding in India, the importance of digital media and his vision for Ketto.

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How did the idea behind starting Ketto come to you?
The social has always been of interest to me and being a seasoned finance professional, the thought always was how I could marry those two concepts. That’s when the idea of using the internet as a platform to raise funds for
social causes came by. The thought came across while I was attending a TED conference.

What was your vision for Ketto then and what is it today?
The vision has not changed much. The thought was pretty simple: to get the online youth of today to give back but do it in a fun way. The idea was to make giving cool, simple, reliable and easy.

How has the crowdfunding landscape changed in India?
Crowdfunding as a term is fairly new to India but the concept has been widely used all over India since centuries in local communities to build temples, schools and hospitals . Over 30 years back in 1976, Shyam Benegal collected Rs 2 lakh from 500,000 farmers to fund Amul’s ad film Manthan. It’s only now has the industry is seen getting relevance as it has become more organized and the internet has allowed it to become more and more global.

What role has Ketto played in changing the dynamics of philanthropy in India?
Ketto has created a unique bridge between the 100 million young Indian professionals who are online and internet savy and the 300 million people in India who don’t have access to basic social services such as education, healthcare, sanitation by using the access of NGO networks and providing these NGOs the necessary funds.

Can you highlight Ketto’s achievements in the past one year.
Raising funds to send luge athlete Shiva Keshavan to the winter Olympics in Sochi this year and sending Shweta Katti, the daughter of a sex worker in Mumbai, to the US for her undergraduation and many more.

How do you leverage your background in finance for Ketto?
It helps creating the right pitches and campaigns, and understanding the customers better on their expectations and how to best manage them. My finance background also helps me in speaking to corporate donors and
creating partnerships with them.