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ImpactGuru: Crowdfunding Primarily For Medical Relief Of Poor

Think of an easy-to-use platform to transform individuals into Impact Gurus, who will lead the world to goodness. Well, you don’t have to ponder much as there is an “ImpactGuru” that made this thought into reality.

If, you ask what is Impact Guru? In simple terms, an Impact Guru is someone who envisions change, finds solutions to social problems, steps up to support another change-maker, makes kindness a habit, dares to follow his/her dream, or simply helps out a friend in need.

Today, News Aur Chai introduce you to the mastermind behind the tech-for-good platform “ImpactGuru.com“. In a candid conversation with Falguni Chaudhary, Piyush Jain explains about his brainchild.

Tell us about your background education and experiences.

I am Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, ImpactGuru.com, a crowdfunding platform in India with a significant focus on healthcare.

I was previously an M&A investment banker with J.P.Morgan (New York, Hong Kong, and London), management consultant with BCG and EY (Southeast Asia and India).

I have an undergraduate degree from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, where I was a Joseph Wharton Scholar and a graduate degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. At Harvard, I assisted Professor Thornburg in teaching a class on Financial Management in Non-profit Organizations. I co-authored a paper at Harvard Business School on innovative ways to finance entrepreneurial and social ventures.

What was the moment which made you rethink your life’s discourse as an investment banker and instead choose to utilize your domain knowledge to a greater good?

The strong passion for making a difference in the lives of people and saving more lives inspired co-founder, Khushboo Jain and I to start a fintech company focused on making healthcare more affordable. We thus co-founded ImpactGuru.com with a mission to help India’s people find crowdfunding solutions primarily for healthcare as well as social change. The company was incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab in the USA in 2014.

ImpactGuru: Crowdfunding Primarily For Medical Relief Of Poor
(Image Source: ImpactGuru.com)

Initially, ImpactGuru.com focus was to raise funds for non-profits. After being in business for about 18 months, we realized that while we would want to continue serving non-profits, there was an even bigger opportunity helping patients raise money for their out of pocket hospital expenses. We thus pivoted towards making healthcare as our primary focus area.

We were able to persuade the Senior Management of Apollo Hospitals Group to create a transformational partnership for the first time between a crowdfunding platform and a large hospital group. Not only did they invest in our company and led our Series A Round, but they also agreed to offer our healthcare financing solution to thousands of patients in their 70+ hospitals across the country. This has been a very successful partnership with great results produced for both sides in a short amount of time.

Mumbai resident Amit Shenoy, who was admitted at Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai raised Rs 45 lakhs in 7 days through ImpactGuru for his Allogenic Stem Cell transplant. Amit and his wife Gopi belong to a middle-class background, in times of financial difficulty due to medical expenses, crowdfunding came to their rescue.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business? How have you innovated yourself to overcome the current challenges?

During this COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, ImpactGuru has emerged as a digital warrior – corporates/CSR, philanthropists, are big-heartedly contributing to the large pool of ImpactGuru COVID-19 related fundraisers and do good citizens, NGOs are actioning this financial support by distributing food, medical supplies, PPE to daily wagers, elderly and healthcare workers.

Over 800 fundraisers are running on ImpactGuru to support daily wagers, elderly, healthcare workers, animals, all hit due to the COVID-19. Large corporates such as Ford are fundraising on ImpactGuru to support their driver partners through the Office Ride Driver Fund. Besides, from Indian online supermarket majors such as BigBasket, Grofers; restaurant tech platform Dineout; to online medical stores Netmeds, PharmEasy have also partnered with ImpactGuru with the mission to extend support to the needy.

NGO KVN Foundation spearheaded ‘FeedMyCity’, an initiative which is providing freshly cooked nutritious meals to needy families in 5 cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida and Chennai. KVN Foundation has already served over 4,60,000 meals in 10 days! In a quick span, these campaigns have cumulatively raised over Rs 40 lakh on ImpactGuru.

Yash Charitable Trust (YCT) has initiated a crowdfunding campaign on ImpactGuru.com to sustain operations and ensure salaries are paid to the workforce of Juhu based Café Arpan and their other livelihood programs. In a swift span, YCT’s ImpactGuru fundraiser received tremendous support from donors and well-wishers across the world; the campaign overall raised Rs 26.15 lakh.

Can you share some impact stories and metrics with us?

ImpactGuru.com’s core mission is to work tirelessly to ensure that no one dies due to lack of funds for their healthcare expenses in India. We seek to help patients in India from below-poverty-line backgrounds suffering from critical illnesses and those middle-class patients, who have drained their finances sustaining long-term treatments (such as cancer, organ transplants, accidents) fund their out-of-pocket medical expenses through crowdfunding.

Here are some of our healthcare crowdfunding record cases at ImpactGuru.com:

  • 15-Year-old Deekshit required funds for his mother’s rectal prolapse surgery. A fundraiser for his appeal was put up on our platform. In 3.5 hours, Deekshit’s fundraiser surpassed the target goal of Rs 15 lakhs on ImpactGuru and raised nearly Rs 16.10 lakhs in total.

  • 33-year-old Nushafreen Palsetia, a software engineer based in Mumbai, was recently diagnosed for relapsed Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), a very aggressive form of cancer. CAR-T Cell therapy treatment was recommended, available only in the USA, UK, Israel, and a few European countries. Nushafreen’s family reached out to Sheba Medical Centre in Israel, estimate at 200,000 USD (approx. 1.5 crore Indian Rupees).

An ImpactGuru crowdfunding campaign was initiated, as Nushafreen’s family couldn’t afford the high medical expenses. In 2 weeks, Nushafreen’s ImpactGuru Page raised over Rs 1 crore from 1,750 donors.

Can you relay some critical milestones in your journey so far?

Recently, ImpactGuru.com received a Rs 40 lakh grant in the form of matching funds from The Action COVID-19 Team (ACT), to scale fundraising for Personal Protective Equipment for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers across India. The company added up to 20 per cent in matching donations via the ACT Grant on every single donation for selected Public and Private Hospitals on its platform.

Do people have any trust issue in signing up? How do you provide and ensure end to end safety to your users?

We have a dedicated batch of Campaign Managers assigned to fundraisers of each category (Medical, NGOs, Personal/Creative causes). These representatives check on the credibility and authenticity of the Campaign by evaluating the documents shared which support the case (hospital bills, official documents from authorities, ID proof etc.) and coach such customers on how to fundraise effectively.

For medical fundraisers –

  1. We verify each patient case with the concerned Hospital.
  2. Documents, hospital bills are a mandatory upload on the fundraiser page.
  3. As a practice, we transfer the amount raised directly into the account of the Hospital.

For fundraisers put up by NGOs–

  1. We do a basic check on registration documents such as Section 12A/80G and FCRA.
  2. We check if due diligence specialists have accredited the NGO, or social sector intermediaries such as GuideStar India, Give India, Charities Aid Foundation, Dasra, and Samhita.
  3. We also look into the background of the management/trustees of the non-profit and their financial and impact reports.

To summarize, we ensure every fundraiser goes through a special Due Diligence process and is vetted by our Team.

We ensure each Donor that has contributed to any fundraiser, regardless of the amount, is updated on the progress and the outcome of the fundraiser. Be it a patient’s health status or an NGO/individual’s project activity status.

We regularly post Testimonials of Patients/NGOs/Individuals/Organizations who have crowdfunded on our platform:

8-year-old Ahanti was in-need of funds for her heart transplant. In a fleet span, Ahanti raised Rs 26.68 lakhs from 738 donors, through crowdfunding on ImpactGuru.

Here is a collection of Customer Testimonial Videos on ImpactGuru.com YouTube Channel

ImpactGuru.com has now extended free fundraising to all causes by offering 0 per cent platform fee. Free fundraising is made available to all types of fundraisers hosted on the platform – whether it’s for patients facing medical emergencies such as COVID-19, cancer, organ transplants, or for non-profits fundraising for their programs, or for individuals raising money to fund animal causes, education expenses, or any other cause they are passionate about.

Through this new initiative, ImpactGuru is waiving off its platform fees so that fundraisers can receive maximum funds for the causes they support. To help sustain the platform to provide a free fundraising option, donors will be asked for a voluntary tip, which is optional, used to fund costs relating to technology infrastructure, dedicated staff, fundraiser outreach, due diligence, vetting and other functional activities of ImpactGuru.

In a joint statement ImpactGuru.com’s Co-Founders Piyush Jain and Khushboo Jain said, “In the last 5 years, crowdfunding on ImpactGuru has now become the preferred way for people to finance critical illness bills at hospitals given the low level of insurance penetration in India. With the extension of our free fundraising options to all fundraisers, we hope to accelerate our ambition of helping finance the critical illnesses of over 1 million/10 lakh patients over the next decade.”

Find more such inspiring startup stories at News Aur Chai’s – STARTUP CONNECT

Falguni Chaudhary

A literature graduate,Falguni is a PR specialist and communication strategist who thrives on brand building and creating the right PR mix for brands via the art of storytelling.Apart from the daily grind, she loves taking photo-walks, read literary theories and bake.

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