Give a brief info about your current startup, Crowdera?
Crowdera is a technology company that offers an online platform framework for team fundraising, donor syndication, and corporate giving in a single value chain. The platform is designed specifically for nonprofit organizations and social innovators. Crowdera also runs the world’s first truly fee-free p2p fundraising or crowdfunding platform for personal and social causes, called gocrowdera.com.
Crowdera is designed to complement an organization’s existing fundraising and volunteering activities by offering a user-friendly platform to create visually-compelling and viral fundraising campaigns that raise awareness and funding activities for an organization’s charitable goals and missions.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Crowdera originally started like a philanthropic initiative to give back to society. We wanted to provide a platform that helps people raise funds through crowdfunding (or online fundraising) without losing a sizeable portion to commissions or without any dipping into donor dollars.
This aim gave birth to the idea of Crowdera. We created Crowdera with one simple, yet powerful goal in mind: to be the world’s first truly free fundraising platform. By not charging a commission or a set-up fee for any of the necessary fundraising features and tools, Crowdera has removed the largest obstacles to scaling a successful charity fundraising solution.
Even today Crowdera remains a free crowdfunding platform. By never charging commissions on campaigns, we ensure that more donor dollars go towards actually solving the issues that matter. It does not even accept any voluntary tips from the donors – it’s a totally truly free fundraising platform.
After solving the high fundraising cost issue, Crowdera tackled the major problem of leakage of the brand, trust, and money in team fundraising space. Crowdera’s proprietary tech has ensured its customers amplify their fundraising goals while ensuring the brand and trust stands tall.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
My second innings in entrepreneurship started in silicon valley. After running the company from the menlo park for several years, we just moved our headquarters to Singapore with a strong presence in India, while still focussing on the American and Indian market. We have a distributed team between silicon valley, singapore (global HQ), nagpur (Indian hq) and bangalore. I intend to stick to cities ending with pore or pur. 🙂
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
We shaped our business model as such that we don’t see anyone as our competition. I believe we are all just building a great market for many more like us to come.
Having said that, we certainly take pride in the proprietary tech that we use for our select customers to build white labeled solutions. But I do have my favs that I like and sometimes compete with, for eg: classy, San Diego based fundraising saas, Crowdrise (now owned by gofundme) and of course Blackbaud for identifying and leading this market.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Yes, we did. An initial couple of years, I funded the company, just like you will feed and nurture your baby. It was primarily research and development in this space learning from our customers from the US and India. We did a small round in early 2018 to test the waters and closed the raise in less than a week. Sorry, can’t disclose those numbers in the public domain.
Crowdera is now ready to scale and doing another decent sized round from Singapore. We are already subscribed with commitments of over 65%. We are now in our final round of meetings for closing the rest soon!
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your company? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
When you say you, I assume you are talking about the company or the industry. The major disconnect of people about our industry is that the platform drives money to fundraisers, and that can never be the reality. We invest in educating the audience that fundraising is an art and our technology can help them use that art as a simple process. But fundraisers have to drive their own campaigns, others can only act as a catalyst if the fundraisers are performing.
What’s in a name?
We were looking for some simplicity in branding and in a casual chit-chat this name accidentally came up. No one was sure if it’s the right name, but somehow my heart shouted out loud, that Crowdera will soon change this ERA for good by empowering the CROWD.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I have many lovely stories that can not be expressed while just writing digitally, rather I would share in person sometime. Most of the team members were never interviewed, surprising, right? Most of the people either joined in as interns or were professional connects who became aligned with the vision and the natural course of action was to get them in the company. The current pedigree of the team is from eBay, Dorado, Pega, Ness, Ola, Stanford, Columbia, and more.
Our biggest challenge was..
Our commitment to the world has been providing a truly fee-free fundraising platform that would never charge commissions or dip into donor dollars. The biggest challenge has been to keep up with that promise without diluting the quality of our product. So despite several challenges and pivots in our working strategy, we ensure the vision and our commitment never changes. We have always retained a 3-year run rate for our product. As promised our platform is and will always remain free to fundraise. Thanks to our customers offered us our revenue model, where we provide value-added paid services. Our goal as a business is to take our SaaS platform to global fundraisers to increase their fundraising efficiency and amplify their impact.
We want to dominate the world by..
(Share what are your plans for the future w.r.t to your business and social media)
We refer to Crowdera as the future of funding for the things that matter. Whether it is an emergency or a cause that moves you or the dreams that you want to come true, we intend to be that one-stop solution for fundraising needs of all that matter to you. With our 24×7 fundraising helpline to support our Indian and American fundraisers, we are building a giving economy where the world believes that abundance starts with giving.
We’re making moolah by…
We do not dip into donor dollars and offer our crowdfunding platform absolutely commission free. However, over a period of time we have built our tech with multiple proprietary features, for which our institutional clients pay us a nominal annual or triennial subscription fee. We also offer many value-added services for an extremely affordable cost to our customers.
Are you hiring?
Yes, We are hiring. Crowdera hiring process is a bit different as every employee here is connected to some or other cause that defines their existence. We are starting our fellowship program for volunteers and interns to build a #giving economy where abundance will start with giving. We are accepting applications from students, and individuals of all ages and from any part of the world to be part of our revolutionary fellowship program.
What do we offer to our consumers/customers?
We help our customers to set up a fundraising framework to manage multi-channel fundraising including individual and team driven crowdfunding campaigns, events, outreach, donation compliance, and more. Crowdera complements an organization’s existing fundraising and volunteering activities by offering a user-friendly platform to create visually compelling, viral fundraising campaigns that raise awareness and funding for an individual or organization’s needs and dreams. Our feature-rich platform allows our customers to start their fundraising in matter of minutes using our guided story builder, customize their donations pages, build & manage their fundraising team, use our inbuilt CRM & social integrations for donor outreach, manage tax exemption receipt disbursement, socially shareable widgets & buttons, and can even have access to our pre-negotiated marketing and PR partners. Our customers now can use bot based donor outreach & fundraising.
What motivated us to start up?
During his first stint building, a social enterprise supporting education of underprivileged, Chet Jain noticed how numerous nonprofits were refraining from online fundraising because of donor dipping (commissions charged by existing platforms) and many nonprofits using such platforms were struggling to raise money online for lack of customer support from the platforms. In order to plug these unnecessary leaks, Crowdera was started as a free crowdfunding and online fundraising platform.
Whom do we cater to?
We are a platform that caters to organizations and individuals raising money for causes, emergencies, and dreams that matter to them. So far we have helped over thousands of fundraisers by nonprofits, individuals and filmmakers. As a business, our primary target customer is a typical nonprofit organization from India and the United States, whom we help to set up their fundraising framework to manage multi-channel fundraising including individual and team driven crowdfunding campaigns, events, outreach, donation compliance, and more. Besides Indian & American nonprofits, we have a small team is dedicated to support independent filmmakers. Our self-service side of the platform is helping many medical emergency fundraisers.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My typical day starts exactly as it used to be when I was a kid. Though I wake up with the sun, I still like to take my sweet time to accept that I am awake. But, interestingly, I don’t check my phone, or social media or even calendar on my phone when I wake up. Post my quick meditation after my morning routine, I scan my mac for my schedule, any escalations, a task assigned by my team to me or any customer emergency. Then a peaceful plant-based breakfast followed by commute (depending on which city or country I am in that day – I travel a lot. Like right now I am in Singapore responding to past midnight)
Each day is different, as I still wear many hats But when this day starts it doesn’t at all. I don’t have more than 4 meetings (in-person/video) a day, my vocal chord needs break as well. 🙂 I generally work past midnight with many breathing breaks, jumping jack breaks and hydration breaks… When at home, post-dinner I am a family man unless there is some important strategic work or client issue. Everything else can wait for the next day. 🙂 I check emails and WhatsApp only twice a day, but I don’t miss a single phone call.
How do you think the concept of crowdfunding has been accepted in India?
India runs with emotions and anything that can touch emotions of Indian population can work here. So if you notice, medical and creative crowdfunding has really shaped up well whereas the pure business and innovation-driven projects are very rare to sight. Does not mean it won’t work, will take time to evolve. However, at Crowdera, we have constantly improved the fundraising experience for all from NGOs, emergencies to films and startups too.
What piece of advice would you like to give entrepreneurs who are willing to relocate to Silicon Valley?
Build a company that has a model to scale globally from right here in India, keep traveling or have some presence via business partners or consultants in the valley to ensure your customers think you are close to them. Once you really shape up well and have touched at least a $250K revenue, that would be the time to think of spending more time in the valley and then eventual relocation. And of course, Crowdera’s Thrive5 accelerator program is there to help early-stage entrepreneurs with an idea that can take on the world!
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Again, I have a very simple answer. I think there is nothing called a work-life balance. Your work is also your life and your life is also your work. I mean, we all humans do things either as tasks or we just enjoy that action. For example, we can work out or do yoga or schedule time with family as a task on your calendar just like your work meetings, or you live in that moment and enjoy every bit of it. I am the latter. I travel with my family at least 3-4 times a year, our trips could be an ashram or a beach or just some serene place. My son and I sneak out to watch all marvel and dc movies. But I am still able to clock in over 12 -14 hours each day at work. So is that what you call work-life balance. 🙂
Feel free to connect with Team Crowdera at [email protected]. Make sure to not spam their inbox. 🙂
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