Silicon Valley Speaks

 In Entrepreneur Stories, Interviews, Startups, Their Stories

Like most of you know, Silicon Valley is a prominent region in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. It is a hub for innovation, high technology, and great challenges. Over the days, Silicon Valley has been home to the most innovative and disruptive discoveries ever.

In an elaborate tete-a-tete with Gairika Mitra, Chet Jain, founder of crowdfunding platform Crowdera, takes us through an inside trip of Silicon Valley.

Edited excerpts:

With India becoming the 3rd largest ecosystem for startups, do you think the days ahead are going to be sunny for India?

Indian startup ecosystem went through its own peaks and valleys, with thoughtless cash infusion into not so ready startups in 2015-2016 to today, where investments are more researched and done in a professional way.  The entrepreneurs too are more focussed on building a company rather than just raise money. The governmental institutions have become more supportive and the media too is more approachable. India has proved its worth literally.

Tell us about the culture in Silicon Valley. What is the probable percentage of Indian entrepreneurs there?

Silicon Valley flaunts a no-nonsense casual work culture. It is the place where colleagues are like family, least or no bureaucracy in organizations, everyone talks to each other, people work because they want to and not because they have to, and trust me everyone is approachable. It still is the best place to build global companies.

Silicon Valley has a very mix of diversity, but yes, Indian entrepreneurs and executives certainly do deliver the most as compared to their contemporaries. It’s difficult to quantify the numbers, but yes we do lead the ecosystem.

What is your current organisation? Please tell us in detail.

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.

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.

Akshita and Chet Jain, Crowdera

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.

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. That 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.

Speaking of funding, could you tell us if your venture is a bootstrapped one or funded? If funded, please tell us the amount.

We are in the business of helping people raise money, so indeed we know how to raise money for ourselves too.

Lastly, 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!

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