On April 1 earlier this year when the Centre made Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandatory for companies, a Kochi-based startup knew that they had just taken a long stride towards their goal.
For the uninitiated, the new Companies Act mandates that firms with a net profit of more than 5 Crores or net worth greater than 500 Crores or a turnover of 1000 Crores are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
Zero484 Infomedia Private Ltd started by Radhakrishnan Ram Manohar, Sidharth Vijayan and Praveen Paul in January this year, works with organizations in planning, managing and implementing their CSR activities.
“The market potential is huge. With a pro-development government at the centre we see a huge potential in CSR. Organizations will get actively involved to identify alternate marketing and brand differentiation through CSR. The line distinguishing BTL (Below the Line) activities from CSR activities will get thinner and the same with CSR budgets and marketing budgets,” explains Radhakrishnan.
What is the ‘Get Closer’ initiative?
The startup provides an end-to-end CSR management and implementation program – ‘Get Closer’. Here’s the process as explained by the team in their words.
Planning, initiation and execution of CSR projects for corporate by bringing out innovative campaigns that ensure maximum social return on investment.
Implementing CSR projects for organizations which already have a particular plan but need support in execution.
Creative Team which is capable of creating designs and videos to complement the campaign.
PR Team experienced in handling large clients to garner maximum media coverage for the campaigns.
CSR Reporting to ensure that the entire activity is reported and the impact is documented.
Radhakrishnan worked as an IT analyst at KPMG for 2 years after which he worked for a year at a VC-funded startup in Mumbai prior to starting up Get Closer.
Sidharth Vijayan started his first company, a very successful city-based online magazine, at 20 and is a hacker and a tech enthusiast.
Praveen Paul is currently running a successful chain of restaurants in Bangalore and is also a consultant to various leading brands.
The other people on the team include Stalvart John who looks after Business Development, Jerry Sequira who handles graphic design, Rakesh Raghavan who takes care of content and reporting, and Abraham Varghese who is a BD intern.
The team recently conceived and implemented the Samraksha Project campaign for Indian Oil Corporation Limited in association with Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala Educational Department and Kokuyo Camelin.
Get Closer is working on campaigns for South Indian Bank and Bennett & Coleman Group.
“Organizations have already started identifying that good CSR can bring them a huge boost and help a lot in marketing and reaching out to customers. That is exactly the value we intend to give,” says Sidharth.
The startup had revenues coming in from the first month
“We wanted to have revenues of 6 lacs in the first year. We have already crossed 9 lacs in just 8 months. We are looking at easily hitting 12 lacs this year,” says Praveen.
The team sees that all the corporate hubs are in Mumbai and Delhi and wants to shift base soon. “With more experience, we’d widen our client base. We are also looking to take on bigger projects and work with the government,” Radhakrishnan says about the future plans.
YourStory’s take on Get Closer
- Now that CSR has been made mandatory, the market is estimated at more than 20,000 Crore. Get Closer has an early mover advantage.
- What organizations pay the startup is included in the 2% CSR budget, thereby making payments easy.
- Get Closer has been generating consistent revenues from the first month which bodes well for their vision.