Breaking the odds

Kunal Kapoor on his social venture, Ketto, which makes charity more accessible to the young

Actor Kunal Kapoor is back, this time with an online crowd-funding platform — Ketto . Co-founded with financer Varun Seth, Ketto allows individuals, corporates and NGOs to raise funds towards their favourite social cause online. Some of the causes on the website are ‘A Newspaper that Matters’, which seeks to support Khabar Lahariya, a group of newspapers written, edited, illustrated, produced and marketed by rural women in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; ‘Swimming To The Top’, which seeks to support young swimmer Supriya Mondal in his quest to win a medal for India at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China; and ‘Bend It Like Bollywood’, which seeks to support TIGI (Trust In Goodness Inside) Foundation’s animal welfare shelter (TIGI was started by psychoanalyst Nuzhat Khan and is supported by actors Imran Khan and Aamir Khan). Kapoor speaks about Ketto and the causes close to his heart. Excerpts:

Celebrities are using your platform to ask for cause-based donations. Doesn't it overshadow other causes on your website?

The entire idea behind Ketto was to bring a large community of donors to come online and support multiple campaigns available on the platform.

Celebrities just work as catalysts for Ketto. In the process of seeking support for their cause, they also carry the larger message of fund-raising being easy, fun and rewarding.

From our last year’s experience, we have noticed that when it comes to donations, donors make their decisions purely on the basis of the cause that is close to their heart, and not because an X or Y celebrity supports or endorses it.

Your website says that the individuals can themselves start a fund-raising campaign. How is the credibility of that person verified?

Individuals can only start a fund-raising page in support of the NGOs listed on the website. Funds collected never go to the individuals, they directly go to their supported NGO. Also, all these NGOs on Ketto go through a diligent verification process. The individual who starts a page is only endorsing/helping raise funds for NGOs and is in no way a beneficiary of the collected funds.

What revenue model does Ketto follow?

Till last year or so, Ketto was a free online platform for crowd-funding of causes. Very recently, we have started to charge a nominal fee which is 5 per cent plus payment gateway, making it around 3.5 -5 per cent of each transaction.

With the new Companies Bill 2011, corporates are now required to spend more on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Do you plan to capitalise on this?

Yes we do plan to capitalise on it. In fact, we are already working with Star Sports of the Star Group for one of their CSR campaigns. We hope to collaborate with many more corporates as well in future.

What motivated you to raise funds for the cause of sports?

Having been a sportsman myself, this is an area I feel passionate about. Indian athletes have to constantly struggle for basic facilities like proper training and right equipment. Our attempt is to provide them a level playing field. Overall, it’s an area we are really focusing on.

Funds collected never go to the individuals, they directly go to their supported NGO

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