The basics of doing business in any industry are really always the same and are extremely simple – bringing efficiency to the processes, making it engaging for the consumers and building accountability and trust in the system.As every other industry in India was seeing a disruption,the crowdfunding or the giving industry in India remained largely unchanged in 2010. Three entrepreneurs Sourabh Sharma, Anoj Viswanathan and Mayukh Choudhury decided to change this and in June 2010, Milaap was born that changed the “Giving” industry in India forever.
Changing the face of “Giving” industry in India
Mayukh and Anoj were working for solar startup d.light and were trying to sell $10 solar lamps in India. During this process they realized that $10 was a huge amount for a lot of people who really needed these lamps and Anoj and Mayukh started shelling out money themselves so as to make these solar lamps available to people who really needed them. It was then that they started researching the Giving industry in India and realized that they had to do something if they want more people in India to have access to basic necessities.
“With our resources, we could only help and support a few families. Giving is a basis of human nature and we thought that if we go to people and ask them for 1000 INR, they should be able to donate. As we started researching we found that the giving industry in India was extremely unorganized and has a lot of challenges in terms of processes. This was creating a lot of resistance among people in India to donate money,” says Mayukh.
In the world of today where so much innovation is happening around how business models are being shaped, it is impossible to say that something is not applicable or might not work in your industry.“In 2010, we were looking at how Flipkart was bringing efficiency and consumer engagement in the e-commerce space, aspects that were non existent in the giving industry. Crowdfunding was big in the USA market at that time. In India however, there was a lot of skepticism in the giving and crowdfunding space.We decided to bring the power to crowdfunding to India in a way the country had never seen before. We decided to disrupt the giving market in India with Milaap,” adds Mayukh.
The Crowdfunding Space in India
The crowdfunding industry across the world has been growing rapidly for the last couple of years and is expected to continue its growth for the times to come.According to the Bain India Philanthrophy Report, $16 billion was spent in India in overall crowdfunding out of which $3 billion was spent on social causes.Crowdfunding is expected to grow across the world in the coming years and India is expected to follow the growth trend.
When Sourabh Sharma, Anoj Viswanathan and Mayukh Choudhury started Milaap in June 2010, the biggest challenge in-front of them was that of creating trust about the concept in the Indian mindsets. When Milaap started, the founders decided to adopt a loan model where people could shell out money for certain causes and will get their money back in a specified period of time. As more and more people started getting their money back, a sense of trust was being created about Milaap and about the giving space in India.
In 2014, Milaap decided to diversify to cover a large number of causes. The company works like a pure play crowdfunding platform where champions (individuals trying to raise money are called champions) put up thier causes on the platform and lenders lend their money if interested. Today Milaap not only covers loans but also showcases causes and stories that appeal to a larger audience which are not restricted to locations where their field partners operate on-ground.Every cause that is put up on Milaap is verified to see that it will be executed in the most efficient way and contributors’ capital is entirely put to use towards each campaign.
Most causes on Milaap today do not work on a loan model and infact are working on a donation based model. The loan based causes are thoroughly examined by Milaap team to look at the viability of champions to pay back the money to make sure that the trust factor remains in minds of the lenders.Today Milaap has evolved into a one point solution where people can fund whatever they like. (To look at causes funded through Milaap click here !)
Milaap has helped fund a number of causes till today right from buying a cow to support the livelihood of the family to setting up a new mid sized entrepreneurial venture.In the last 15 months, Milaap has been able to generate a $ 3 million for various causes. Team Milaap is committed to taking crowd funding as a platform to the Indian consumers.
Sourabh Sharma, Anoj Viswanathan and Mayukh Choudhury started Milaap in June 2010.
Sourabh has a bachelors degree from National University of Singapore and had a numbers of years on experience in the field of mobile and technology before starting Milaap. After being with Milaap for 4 years, Sourabh has left Milaap due to personal reasons to work in the more stable corporate sector.
Anoj too is an engineer from National University of Singapore and has worked for a number of years in the field of investments and micro finance before starting Milaap.Mayukh is an alumni of IIT Madras and met Anoj while working at d.light.
Milaap team today is 37 members strong with offices in Bangalore, Singapore and Dallas. The team consists of Milaap fellows (who work in remote locations for 6 months with various Milaap champions), their technology team and digital marketing team.