In August 2018, Amit Shenoy was diagnosed with Blood Cancer in his routine blood checkup. Having no clue about how the money for the treatment was going to come from, Amit and his wife, Gopi were in a huge shock. “Having spent all our savings recently on his father’s transplant, we had no money left. With all doors closed, Impactguru came to our rescue and helped us raise 45 Lakhs in just eight days”, says Gopi Shenoy.
Incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab in the US in 2014, ImpactGuru is a crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social enterprises by helping them raise funds for healthcare, social, and personal needs from family, friends as well as strangers. “The initial focus of ImpactGuru.com 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 focus area,” says Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, ImpactGuru.com.
The intense passion for making a difference in the lives of people and saving more lives inspired co-founders, Piyush Jain, and Khushboo Jain to start a fintech company focused on making healthcare more affordable. During the trying times like the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis and Lockdown, Impactguru has emerged as a digital warrior. Piyush says, “We have been receiving contributions from Corporates/CSRs and Philanthropists for COVID-19 related fundraisers along with do-good citizens and NGOs supporting through distributing food, medical supplies, PPE to daily wagers, elderly and healthcare workers”.
Now, over 1000 fundraisers are running on ImpactGuru to support daily wagers, elderly, healthcare workers, animals, all impacted due to the COVID-19. Large corporates such as Ford are fundraising on ImpactGuru to support their driver-partners through Office Ride Driver Fund. Also, 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.
On an organization level, ImpactGuru has received Rs. 40 lakh grants 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. ImpactGuru will add up to 20% in matching donations via the ACT Grant on every single donation for selected Public and Private Hospitals on its platform. Funds will be directly transferred by ImpactGuru and ACT to suppliers of PPE to ensure 100% transparency in the utilization of funds.
A Start that Matters
ImpactGuru was started with a mission to help Indians find crowdfunding solutions primarily for healthcare as well as social change. Assisting patients struggling to arrange their hospital bills and finance that money in a quick manner through crowdfunding, ImpactGuru has raised funds from over 450,000 donors to help more than 6,000 patients so far. Piyush adds, “many of these patients did not have to resort to selling homes, mortgaging jewellery, losing their savings or borrowing money from lenders at a very high-interest rate as they were able to crowdfund successfully on our platform. Many of the surgeries wouldn’t have taken place if the money was not arranged, which would have resulted in an unfortunate fatality for that family”.
ImpactGuru has been inspiring people to create a movement using the power of technology and social media. “From donating as much as Rs. 1 Lakh to as little as Rs. 1, We have played a huge role in making a difference in someone’s life who has been struggling to finance their medical bills.”, adds Piyush.
With people still having inhibitions about donating as they feel they can’t believe everything on the Internet, ImpactGuru is doing its best and keeps their donor’s trust in them. “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, and many more) and coach such customers on how to fundraise effectively,” says Piyush.
Ensuring every fundraiser goes through a unique, due diligence process, ImpactGuru also ensures each donor that has contributed to any fundraiser is updated about the progress and the final results of the same. Piyush adds, “Be it a patient’s health status or and NGO/Individual’s Project Activity, we regularly post testimonials of Patients/NGOs/Individuals/Organizations, who have been a part of our venture.”
The first crowdfunding player in India, ImpactGuru has also launched its smartphone app for its customers. It presents the user with a quick view of their fundraiser, enabling them to keep track of the progress of the Campaign, get real-time donation updates and also post updates from their side. Piyush adds, “Due to our strategic partnership with Give2Asia, we are the only crowdfunding platform that can offer tax benefits to Indian and international donors.”
Along with this, ImpactGuru also stands out as the only crowdfunding platform to have its own story builder. “We help our customers to write great stories as it is a major pain point in the industry today. We have a built-in an AI-supported story builder for medical fundraisers, with a template for all campaigners to develop their own standardized stories”.
The business world might appear buttoned-down from the outside – but in reality, it is a lot more interesting than you might realize. Piyush says, “Take risks, there is only one life and don’t live life with regrets. Nobody has achieved something extraordinary in life without taking risks.” After all, following rules and staying inside the lines doesn’t often make for business success!