First of all, Let’s have some background about crowdfunding, our today’s topic of startup.
According to Wikipedia, Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
There are several crowdfunding platforms working around the glob. among those platforms few are very well known at the international stage. some of them are Kickstarter & Indiegogo which are based on a model where an individual or a body post their project and “backers” (in layman term investors) provide them money to complete their project. In return backers get some benefits like early access to their books/videos/products etc at a discounted rate or some gifts from project owner.
While some other models are
- P2P (Peer to Peer) model: where funding is given as a loan where investor(or backer) receives interest on principle amount. Platforms like LendingClub, Prosper & SoFi works on international level. While Faircent & Lendbox works on similar model in India.
- Donation model: where people funds the project on mostly social or personal needs like medical expenses or monetary help during natural calamities. Example for global players are GoFundMe & Generosity (run by Indiegogo. BitGiving & Ketto are working with same model in India.
The crowdfunding industry is very vast and growth is exponential. See below stats for better idea.
Now we have fair knowledge about crowdfunding and different types of model working around it. So, lets talk about our today’s guest – Wishberry
Wishberry is a new way to bring creative & innovative ideas to life. It is a rewards-based crowdfunding website for creative entrepreneurs in India. Creative artists/entrepreneurs use Wishberry to raise funds for their projects from their fans and followers. People who fund these projects are called “backers” and in return for their funding, they get exclusive rewards related to the project.such as access to the first copy of the project, a chance to work with the project creators such as filmmakers, musicians etc., limited edition merchandise etc.
According to Wishberry, “Lack of money and social validation discourages people from pursuing their creative passions in India. We believe that the only solution to this problem is to democratize funding through an online platform like Wishberry. People who connect with ideas can back them with funding, not for charity or for any monetary return, but simply for making ideas happen”
Priyanka is the co-founder & CEO (Chief Energy Officer) at Wishberry & manages a little bit of many things: product, finance, and operations. She has earned 2 degrees from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. One is in Business whereas 2nd is in Engineering. She has worked at KPMG, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey, all before co-founding Wishberry with Anshulika.
Her attitude towards any new & crazy idea is “Screw it, let’s do it!”. She believes, crowdfunding is the answer to everything, be it buying an iPhone 6 for herself or a Nap Pod for the office or even raising seed financing for Cofounder & CEO – Wishberry.
Anshulika is also a co-founder along with Priyanka at Whishberry. She was working with McKinsey as an analyst. She is inspired by characters like Dagny Taggart and Miranda Priestly.
Anshulika handles Sales and Marketing at Wishberry. She found the idea of crowdfunding while working on a project with McKinsey. She believes that crowdfunding is a lifeline for all budding creative artists in India. Her attitude is “it’s not all about the money, honey” it’s the people’s belief behind a dream that makes all the difference.
The Wishberry Story:
Wishberry was originally founded by Priyanka Agarwal in 2009 as a bridal registry website. However it turned into an online charity fundraising platform by 2011. The idea of crowdfunding came about when her ex-McKinsey colleague Anshulika Dubey discussed with Priyanka the prospect of running a crowdfunding platform for the creative sector.
At that time, Ms. Dubey was working on a McKinsey report on social media and crowdfunding.where she learnt about the concept and its success in the West. Priyanka then convinced Anshulika to leave her job. She join her to lead creative crowdfunding within Wishberry, while she decided to continue focusing on charity fundraising. The two founders spent the whole of year 2012 researching whether to focus on the creative sector or the social sector . They tested these two models on their beta product.
While in mid-2013, they changed the model towards the creative sectors – films, music, theater, dance, photography, art, design, comic and publishing, and also modified their product technology and branding.
In the short run, Wishberry Has achieved multiple milestone in their journey. few are mentioned in below inforgraphics.
Wishberry has raised $ 650,000 (INR 4 Cr.) in seed funding in January-2015 from 44 angel investors including Google India’s MD Rajan Anandan and iSPIRT’s Sharad Sharma. Other 42 investors are entrepreneurs such as Deep Kalra of Make My Trip and Amit Ranjan of SlideShare; music composer Shankar Mahadevan; and SEBI board member Mohandas Pai, among others.
The fund is being used in expanding the team size, marketing, technology enhancement and for building awareness for crowdfunding in India.
This year(2017) in January, this Mumbai based crowdfunding platform raised Pre-Series A round of undisclosed amount led by iSPIRT’s Sharad Sharma.
Rajan Anandan (vice president, South East Asia and India, Google), Amit Ranjan (co-founder, SlideShare), Alok Mittal (founder, Indifi Technologies) and Venkat S Raju (chief executive, Kyron Global) also participated in the round.
Since 2012 when wishberry commenced their operations, it has successfully raised funds for 370 projects worth INR 11 Cr from 18,500 backers. If we consider only 10% of commission on all projects, It’s revenue was 1.1 Cr.
From the total amount raised for different projects, major share was from Film & Music category, around 60%.
Mumbai based Wishberry is based on certain principles around them their work culture revolves.
- Wishberry is focused and goal-oriented and their goals are measurable.
- They succeed and fail as a team.
- Discipline is an integral part of respecting the team.
- create leaders from within vs hiring from outside – they don’t hire leaders from outside rather they groom them from within.
- Wishberry mentor people by actively sharing knowledge – a good sign to work for this startup.
- Stay solution oriented
- Great isn’t good enough.
- They try to understand their audience to get the message across.
So, all the points indicates that it is a very good place in terms of knowledge and values to work for.
Wishberry is on it’s way to raise Series-A round of funding and acquire more creative artist/entrepreneurs trough their platform.
So bottom line is, Wishberry is on a path to create value for individuals who have quality work in their basket and lack funds to take it to their audience. If you have one, for sure give it a try and reach out to your audience in a creative way through Wishberry. It may be a player which can stand up high against their rivals like Kickstarter & Indiegogo.