Khushboo Jain of ImpactGuru.com on how the platform raised over Rs 15 Cr to help daily wagers, others amid COVID-19

Khushboo Jain, Co-founder of ImpactGuru, says, the crowdfunding platform continues to change the lives of people through timely healthcare assistance.
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Mumbai resident Amit Shenoy, admitted at Apollo Hospital in Navi Mumbai, raised Rs 45 lakh in just a week through crowdfunding for his Allogenic Stem Cell transplant.

Fifteen-Year-old Deekshit required funds for his mother’s rectal prolapse surgery. A fundraiser for his appeal was put up on ImpactGuru, and in 3.5 hours, Deeekshit’s fundraiser surpassed the target of Rs 15 lakh. Rs 16.10 lakh was raised in total. 

In two hours, a fundraiser page crossed its target goal of Rs 10 lakh to cover the air ambulance cost of a patient who met with a fatal spine injury. Total funds raised was Rs 13.71 lakh.

These are just a few examples of how crowdfunding platform ImpactGuru has changed the lives of people through timely help and assistance.

“Every minute, 100 people get hospitalised in India and 30 health insurance claims are filed. Seven out of 10 from the middle class population in India do not have any health insurance and those who do, are typically underinsured as the average cover in India is Rs 5 lakh. High out of pocket expenses stands at 60 percent - 3x global average,” explains Khushboo Jain, Co-founder, ImpactGuru.

Piyush and Khushboo Jain - Founders of ImpactGuru.com

The demand for healthcare financing of critical illnesses is a huge market opportunity with crowdfunding being the only feasible solution (considering very high treatment costs and high default rates for loans for critical illnesses). Crowdfunding allows people to raise money quickly in a hassle free manner without any payback liability.

A strong passion to make a difference in the lives of people and save more lives inspired Khushboo and her husband Piyush Jain to start a fintech company in 2015, focused on making healthcare more affordable in India.

“However, there came a point when Piyush an I realised we wanted to be social entrepreneurs and create a venture that would be mission-driven but ultimately blend profit with purpose,” she says.

Business in her genes

Khushboo hails from a family of entrepreneurs and so at a very early age, “I knew that I was going to run a business of some kind”. She started getting trained at her father’s office at the age of 15, while juggling college and extra-curricular activities. Khushboo has an MBA in Marketing from WE Business School – Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, and later went on to study Marketing at Parsons, the New School of Design in New York. Piyush was previously an M&A investment banker with JPMorgan (New York, Hong Kong, and London), management consultant with BCG (Southeast Asia and India).

Khushboo believes crowdfunding is an alternative method of raising funds online for medical expenses, with the patients or their friends or family, primarily relying on social media networks to mobilise donors to finance the relevant medical bills.

“Typically, each of these donors contribute relatively small sums of money online to help raise a much larger goal amount. For example, 500 donors contributing Rs 5,000 each can mobilise Rs 25 lakh for a cancer surgery or organ transplant in less than 24 hours,” she says.

Healthcare crowdfunding

She adds that ImpactGuru.com has fundamentally changed the established practice of how critical illnesses are financed in India not through loans or insurance or selling assets, but by healthcare crowdfunding.

It claims to be the only crowdfunding platform in India with an Android and iOS app for the campaigner to effectively manage their fundraiser.

The platform also has an AI-supported story builder for medical fundraisers, with a template for all campaigners to develop their own standardised campaign stories.

“This is a pivotal component of any fundraiser and the reason why donors will choose to make a donation. Our goal was to free the campaigner of the added responsibility of creating a story when they are already managing their own/ loved one’s sickness,” Khushboo explains.

ImpactGuru has so far mobilised $200 million/Rs 1,500 crore through its platform and global partners, since inception. Over 10 lakh donors from 165 other countries have already donated for various causes with an average 1.5 donations every one minute on the platform. Its team of 100+ people is based in Mumbai.

Maximum funds for causes

Initially bootstrapped, ImpactGuru raised $0.5 million in a seed round in 2016 from RB Investments (Singapore VC Fund). In 2018, it raised $ 2 million in Series A round co-led by Apollo Hospitals Group, Currae Healthtech Fund, RB Investments (Singapore-based VC Fund), Shorooq Investments (Middle East based VC Fund), Venture Catalysts (India’s #1 angel investor group) with participation from various other investors from the US, Southeast Asia, and Middle East.

Not only did Apollo invest in ImpactGuru, but it also agreed to offer its healthcare financing solution to thousands of patients in its 70+ hospitals across the country.

The platform is now connected with over 1,500 hospitals across the country at various levels to help their patients raise funds.

On its revenue model, Khushboo says, “We typically charge 5 percent fee on total funds raised. There is no upfront fee that customers need to pay to use our platform. We recently introduced the 0 percent ImpactGuru Platform fee option so that fundraisers can receive maximum funds for the causes supported - whether it’s for patients facing medical emergencies such as COVID-19, cancer, organ transplants, for non-profits fundraising for their programmes, or for individuals raising money to fund animal causes, education expenses, or any other cause they are passionate about.”

To help sustain the platform to provide a free fundraising option, donors will be asked for a voluntary tip. These optional tips will help ImpactGuru fund costs relating to technology infrastructure, dedicated staff, fundraiser outreach, due diligence and vetting, disbursing funds, and updating donors on fund utilisation to ensure continued trust and safety on the platform.

Digital warrior during COVID-19

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Khushboo says crowdfunding on ImpactGuru.com emerged as a digital warrior – corporates/CSR and philanthropists have been contributing to the large pool of COVID-19 related fundraisers, NGOs are actioning this financial support by distributing food, medical supplies, PPE kits to daily wagers, elderly and healthcare workers.

ImpactGuru.com raised over Rs 15 crore from over 800 COVID-19 related fundraisers to support daily wagers, elderly, healthcare workers, animals, all impacted due to the crisis.

In April 2020, 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 (PPE) for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers across India. Khushboo informs that ImpactGuru will add up to 20 percent in matching donations via the ACT Grant on every single donation for selected public and private hospitals on its platform.

With the funds raised so far, ImpactGuru.com has facilitated supply of over 42,000 PPEs, which includes N95 Masks, 3 Ply Masks’, and boxes of gloves to various hospitals.

“Our ambition is to make an extraordinary impact through our platform, help finance the critical illnesses of over one million/10 lakh patients over the next decade,” says Khushboo.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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