Recent crowd funding campaigns have given us a lot of cool tech – from Fitbit to Oculus Rift. But it is time for crowd sourcing platforms to elevate themselves and harness the strong power that they truly possess. That is precisely what Ranganath Thota did, a former PepsiCo. executive who founded the Bangalore-based crowd sourcing company FuelADream.
Farmers in the parched village of Horti in Western India were incapacitated financially and were desperately seeking funds for building a new canal. A local non-profit group helped them write a proposal that showcased just how much a canal would help the residents. Within a few weeks, 100 generous donors graciously raised over 300,000 Rupees, which were then used for building a storage duct. Shortly afterwards, the monsoon rains filled the waterway running through the fields and the farmers will soon be planting sugarcane, soybeans, and grains.
“The power of a crowd is not to be under-estimated as a force for connecting with the world”, said Thota in a recent interview. Crowd sourcing in India is taking a different approach than their counterparts in the United States and Europe. Instead of financing technology-based startups, Indian crowd sourcing companies are working towards disentangling challenging social issues including education and helping impoverished farmers. Given the massive population in India, companies like FuelADream believe that even smaller contributions from a large pool of people will be enough for bringing about bigger changes.
Projects such as the one funded by FuelADream are on the rise in the country. Just last year, Greensole, a Mumbai based startup company used crowd sourcing for collecting funds and starting a company that uses refurbished shoes for producing comfortable footwear for the underprivileged. VChalk, another Bangalore-based startup turned to crowd funding for raising capital for a service that provides English and Math classes for children of factory workers, street vendors, and the disadvantaged.
India is the world’s second-largest Internet market with more than 300 million users and the recent advances in online payment systems make it easier for contributors for finding and funding projects that they really care about.
Have you funded any project yourself? Is there a crowd sourced product that you are excited for? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.