Impact Guru Raises $500K in Seed Round, Announces International Crowdfunding and Private Investment Partnership
The capital raised from RB Investments and Fundnel and the strategic partnership with Fundnel will enable Impact Guru to scale social/donation crowdfunding (online) for nonprofits, social enterprises and personal causes; and leverage Fundnel’s private investment network for facilitating equity or debt funding (offline) for startups and social enterprises in India and Southeast Asia.
Impact Guru, a Harvard Innovation Lab incubated fintech company, has announced a seed round of $500,000 from RB Investments, a Singapore based venture capital firm, and Fundnel, a Southeast Asia-based private investment platform. Impact Guru and Fundnel have also created a first in the world strategic partnership between a social/rewards crowdfunding platform and a private investment platform.
The capital raised from RB Investments and Fundnel and the strategic partnership with Fundnel will enable Impact Guru to scale social/donation crowdfunding (online) for nonprofits, social enterprises and personal causes; and leverage Fundnel’s private investment network for facilitating equity or debt funding (offline) for startups and social enterprises in India and Southeast Asia. Fundnel will select and invite startups and/or social enterprises that have successfully leveraged Impact Guru’s crowdfunding platform in India to demonstrate traction to Fundnel’s network of family offices, venture capital funds, and accredited investors for international investment and for further scaling within Southeast Asia. Both Impact Guru and Fundnel will engage in the exchange and collaboration of relevant know-how in crowdfunding, technology and deal syndication.
The partnership with Fundnel will particularly help Impact Guru to extend its influence beyond India to attract more philanthropic and/or investment capital from NRIs (Non Resident Indians) / PIOs (Person of Indian Origin) abroad especially those residing in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia which are estimated to be 2.5mm. The funds will also be utilized to expand Impact Guru’s core team, to accelerate product development and sales and marketing efforts particularly for rewards crowdfunding for startups and social enterprises, and to build a larger community of donors, customers, and investors.
Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Impact Guru said, “The traditional charity and social enterprise fundraising model in India is broken. The alternatives to online fundraising are outdated, expensive, and ineffective. We firmly believe that a full stack crowdfunding solution that combines social, rewards, and investment crowdfunding will make Impact Guru a platform of choice for individuals, nonprofits, social enterprises, or startups for all their fundraising needs - be it small or large. RB Investments has a proven track record of helping its portfolio companies scale their businesses in India and Southeast Asia and has already backed several high profile startups. We are certain that RB Investments’ expertise and networks will help us accelerate our growth.”
Harshavardhan Bothra, Director at RB Investments said, “Impact Guru is well aligned with our investment philosophy of investing in companies with great founders, who are tackling a complex multi-faceted problem through a disruptive approach that provides a rapidly scalable business opportunity. Crowdfunding and fintech are at a very early stage of evolution in India and Southeast Asia. The strategic partnership with Fundnel differentiates Impact Guru from other players in the market and will further accelerate its growth. Impact Guru is one of several startups that is inspired by the Start-up India Stand Up India initiative of the Indian government.”
Kelvin Lee, Co-Founder of Fundnel said, “We believe that this exclusive partnership will give us access to more investors and deal flow from the Indian community, which will allow us to provide more products and services to our existing customer base in Southeast Asia. We aim to further scale our footprint through this partnership in order to gain access to the Indian startup and investment community. Furthermore, with this door into the niche market of social enterprises, we believe that we can provide our new and existing investors with more innovative deals and socially responsible investing opportunities.”
Impact Guru has also announced two additions to its Advisory Board: Harvard Business School Professor Ramana Nanda, an expert in entrepreneurial finance and management, and Gaurav Gupta, Regional Director for Asia, Dalberg, a thought leader in the social sector. They will provide mentorship, and strategic guidance to the Impact Guru management team along with other existing members of the Advisory Board, that includes Sam Raymond, lead crowdfunding strategist at World Bank’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit; Calvin Zhang, Managing Director, JPMorgan Asia Pacific; Anthony Oundjian, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group; David Back, co-founder of Zoomcar, a Sequoia portfolio company; and Huzaifa Khorakiwala, CEO of Wockhardt Foundation.
Impact Guru has already partnered with nonprofits such as World Vision India, Oxfam, SOS Children's Village, Habitat for Humanity; CSR departments of Tata, Godrej, and Wockhardt; impact focused organizations such as Dalberg and Asha Impact; international Indian community organizations such as TiE in a relatively short span of time since its launch in August 2015. Impact Guru is the only crowdfunding platform in the world that allows people to give to causes without making a direct financial contribution through its SMILE innovation. SMILE stands for Social Media Impact Linked Engagement. Impact Guru connects the mere act of sharing a social cause via Facebook to be equivalent to a donation of up to Rs 1,000 per share depending on certain factors.
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