Category - Media Room

Kunal Kapoor: Actor, Visionary, Giver

Microsoft Word - Kunal Kapoor Interview_Ketto.docxAmidst the glitz and glamour of the Indian film industry is an actor who has leveraged his popularity and celebrity clout to create awareness about social issues and motivate Indian youth to drive change.

Critically acclaimed actor Kunal Kapoor is one of the three founding partners of Ketto and when he is not working on one of his offbeat films, he devotes his time to inspiring today’s generation to become charitable in a fun and easy manner.

Upon realizing that the only thing stopping people from donating was the lack of a credible platform, Kunal helped create Ketto as a vehicle for moving funds to those in need from those who need to give back.

Keep reading to discover what Bollywood thinks of the spirit of giving and how the renowned actor leverages his goodwill to empower today’s youth.

From Bollywood to charity, how did the idea for Ketto come about?
I was working with a number of NGOs and realized they were always in need of funds and people to help but did not necessarily have access to them. On the other hand, many of my friends, family, acquaintances were looking to donate and help out but were not exactly sure how to and to whom to give these funds to. Also, charity is perceived as serious, difficult and complicated. So the idea behind Ketto was to build a bridge between the people that needed help and those who wanted to help using the easiest possible way, which is technology.

Do you see a huge mind-shift in Bollywood towards charity today?
I think the Indian film industry has always been the first to step up whenever there is a need to raise funds or awareness for a social cause. Today there are so many more avenues that have opened up, which makes it easier for us to reach out to people for charitable causes.

How has the crowdfunding landscape changed in India?
I think it’s growing at a really fast pace. When we started a couple of years back, there was a certain amount of resistance. But over the years I have seen the mindset change. People are realizing the power of crowdfunding. We’ve seen the interest and traffic growing with every passing month.

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

I think it’s too early to say that we’ve changed the dynamics of giving. We have pulled off campaigns that we are really proud of in areas as diverse as education, women’s issues and sports. The larger dream though is to change the mindset associated with giving. People think charity is serious, complicated and difficult. We want them to see that it can be fun, easy and accessible. In the amount of time you take to book movie tickets, you can now change a life, sitting anywhere in the world.

How do you leverage your background in acting for Ketto?
I think that the first step to bringing about change is to create awareness. Being a celebrity helps me create awareness and support causes I believe in. If as an actor I can sell, cars, clothes, watches, then it’s important that I use that reach to create awareness and mobilize people to lend their support.

The Young Turks Of Ketto

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The global crowdfunding landscape is quickly evolving to become one of the fastest-growing industries, with research and advisory firm Massolution projecting funds worth $10 billion to be raised from crowdfunding in 2014, up from $5.1 billion in 2013.

At Ketto, we understand the impact of this phenomenon and consistently strive towards upgrading our offerings and services to benefit society at large. While there are 121 crowdfunding sites in the United States of America, there are only six in India.

In an illuminating interview with CNBC TV18, one of India’s premium business new channels, Ketto founders Varun Sheth and Kunal Kapoor discussed the emerging role of crowdfunding in India, gamifying charity to make it easy and safe, as well as finding innovative revenue models for Ketto.

Watch the video.

18 Months On: The Journey’s Just Begun

What started as a tiny idea at a TED conference has grown to become a revolutionary engine in two phenomenal years. Varun Sheth launched Ketto on August 15, 2012 and the crowdfunding engine has since become a vehicle of change for many Indians.

Simply speaking, crowdfunding is the practice of raising small sums of money from people online to fund a cause or an activity. While crowdfunding is an incredibly popular method of fundraising in the west, the concept is still new in India. We hope to educate and empower Indians to change the lives of millions in this fun and easy manner.

At the same time that Varun had his eureka moment with Ketto, actor and humanitarian Kunal Kapoor was looking for a way to make charity cool and accessible. They joined hands and positioned Ketto as the platform where those in need of funds could directly benefit from those inspired to donate.

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Over these past two years, Ketto has brought together individuals, companies and non-governmental organizations to create a bridge through crowdfunding, connecting over 100 million young internet-savvy Indian professionals with more than 300 million people in India who don’t have access to basic social services such as education, health care and sanitation.

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Although global crowdfunding reached $2.7 billion dollars in 2012, funds raised in Asia were only $33 million, a figure that founders Kunal, Varun and Zaheer believe is a mere drop in the ocean. There is so much more that India needs and that Indians can do.

With the belief that these numbers can multiply exponentially given the population and the number of people who want to effect social change, Ketto is working tirelessly with NGOs, corporations and individuals to ensure that more children go to school, more people have access to better sanitation and medical services and that more Indians get to represent our country internationally, among various other compelling causes.

Any person who wishes to donate can simply browse through over 100 causes listed on Ketto’s website and with the click of a button and as little as Rs 100, can help change a person’s life. If you are a NGO or a person looking to raise funds, all you need to do is upload information for your cause, set a goal and watch as your cause transforms into an online revolution.

With Varun’s expertise in finance and passion to work in the social landscape, Kunal’s popularity and goodwill, Ketto aims to set the wheels of social change in motion with one click of a button.

At Ketto we empower others to give back to society, in part by educating the burgeoning online population of India about the potential, reach and impact of crowdfunding, which we will do both on this blog and off. It was this same digitally-savvy and charitably-minded population that helped us send Shweta Katti, a young women who grew up in a red light area of Mumbai, to study at

Bard college in New York, as well as to send Indian luge athlete Shiva Keshevan to Sochi to represent the nation at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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While there is a lot more that we are planning to achieve through the powerful tool that our crowdfunding website is, publications like Entrepreneur and

YourStory have already begun spotlighting our work as innovative, inspiring and indicative of the Indian desire to give back. We look forward to sharing more of this coverage with you as we continue on our journey.

The stories on our blog will help bring our campaigns to life, highlight the emerging role of crowdfunding in the evolving social landscape of India, illuminate the great work of non-governmental organizations in India and abroad, discuss microphilanthropy and talk about social entrepreneurship, among many other things.

We would love to hear your ideas, comments and feedback on microphilathropy and crowdfunding. If you wish to start a fundraiser or believe that Ketto’s services can be leveraged to help an NGO or individual, please write to us
on info@ketto.org or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s been an incredible two years for Ketto and the journey has just begun, we hope that you’ll join hands with us for a better and brighter future for India.