Mayukh Choudhury, CEO and co-founder, Milaap
A B.Tech. from IIT Madras, Mayukh is the Co-founder and CEO of Milaap. At Milaap he focuses on the firm’s business and product strategy. Prior to Milaap he was with Sohan Lal Commodity where he managed an initial fund-raising of USD 8M and subsequent round of USD 25 M for capitalization of the company. He has been part of Ernst and Young and D.light design. All these experiences resulted in Mayukh and his partners creating what is now India’s leading crowdfunding platform to raise funds for social and personal causes.
In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Mayukh says, “The basic idea is to enable people to directly help a person in need and see the direct impact of their help.”
What is the idea behind Milaap?
People have, forever turned to friends and family for help to meet urgent needs where a large sum of money is involved. We came into existence with a vision to take this regular phenomenon online, with more transparency and an increased ease of reaching out to a larger number of people.
The basic idea is to enable people to directly help a person in need and see the direct impact of their help.
How are you different from others?
Milaap addresses the many challenges of giving (such as difficulty in discovering the right causes, trust deficit and overall donor apathy). We share stories of (pre-qualified) individuals and groups with a network of people who can connect with the cause to help with a donation.
What makes Milaap stand out is that it is best suited for funding emergency, healthcare cases, personal causes and is customized to address the utilitarian nature of crowdfunding in a still developing country, where the concept is still gradually reaching more and more people, as digital payments and social media make their way into the more remote pockets.
Any expansion plans?
The concept of crowdfunding is not new, but the digital domain is still quite perplexing to many in India. We are still seeing a vast majority of fundraisers from Tier 1 cities. We are definitely looking at expanding into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. The best way forward seems to be through mass awareness with the help of media.
Although fundraisers can only be set up for causes in India, they may receive donations from over 130 countries across the globe.
Your vision for the company?
Milaap constantly endeavors to take online crowdfunding to the masses. We constantly stay connected to our community of users to get their feedback, and better the product to suit their growing needs. Today, anybody with a smartphone can render and receive financial help from anyone in the world, with great ease. Our vision is to make crowdfunding for medical needs and emergencies a mainstream financing option on par with loans and insurance
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
Although the concept of crowdfunding is not new, the digital domain is still relatively new to many in India. We are still seeing a vast majority of fundraisers from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. We are definitely looking at expanding into the hinterland over the next 5 years. Driven by messenger applications, enabled by mobile payments.
Online crowdfunding today, is a new, yet promising way to fund urgent, pressing needs. We do see a vast scope for its growth, especially in the near future, given the ease it brings in asking for and rendering monetary help between people.