Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Founder & CEO of Ketto.org, Mr. Varun Sheth
Ketto is India’s largest online crowd-funding platform for fund-raising of Social, Charity, Movies, Music, Personal and Creative causes. It was founded in October, 2012 by Varun Sheth, Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor and Zaheer Adenwala.
It is now being launched across Asia. Ketto uses social media to mobilize the youth, effecting change and fuelling creative ideas. It makes online giving and fund-raising easy and safe. With its strong celebrity support, Ketto aims to connect individuals and brands with fundraisers, increasing awareness for various causes—social, personal, creative and entrepreneurial.
Q1. Hi Varun, thanks for taking out the time. We are very curious to know about you and your business?
Ans. I was born and brought up in Mumbai. I did my schooling in Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai. I completed my graduation in commerce & economics in 2008 from NM College, Mumbai. My first job was as an interest rate swap dealer with company called ICAP, the world largest broking house for derivatives & fixed income products.I launched Ketto in 2012. Currently, Ketto is Asia’s largest crowd-funding platform. The idea is to connect people who have money with those who need money. Fundraising is a very difficult time consuming task and that’s the problem that we wanted to solve.
Q2. Nice Idea Varun. Tell our readers about how the interesting idea of Ketto came to your mind?
Ans.Ya sure! I was working in financial service industry as I had my interest in financial service space. So in 2011, when I was doing my job, the idea to start an online marketplace to raise money came to my mind. From there I started working over my idea to raise funds for companies. The initiative came up in terms of creating an online network where we could connect both these sets of people.
Q3. Varun you were a fresher while starting the company. So what challenges you faced while establishing Ketto and what steps you took to tackle it?
Ans.Challenges are many when you are new. There is no limitation. We faced challenges every day. Main challenges were finding the right talent, getting absolute marketing strategy, get right product to the market, and finding right investors.All these are key aspect to create a successful company and all these challenges keep coming as we move ahead. The idea is to keep searching the answers for all these challenges and try to solve those challenges head-on.
Moreover, Ketto faced challenge of acceptability by the market. The market wasn’t educated; they didn’t know how this whole crowd-funding system works. So, a lot of effort was applied to educate
Q4. Varun, How do you advertise your business?
Ans.Currently, we are not advertising our business at large scale. It’s all been word-of-mouth. It’s all been telling people, calling people about our business. It’s completely people networking system. Ketto talks in media. We allow magazines, newspaper, and journalist to cover us by which a large no. of people knows about Ketto. Most of our campaigning goes on the platform. So, till now, it’s very organic and word-of-mouth viral effect.
Q5. Tell us, what is the role of digital marketing in your market initiatives?
Ans.Digital marketing means promoting your business using online platform. Digital marketing is the key means for every business that raises fund from Ketto. We put lot of effort on social media to reach out the people, what is best for raise fund. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest are the essential tool to reach out to a wide market, to the crowd, to get them into fund campaign. I would say, digital marketing plays pretty important role in each and every business in current scenario. Digital marketing has allowed it to become more & more global.
Q6. So where do you see the future of digital marketing in the industry?
Ans.Everyone knows the future of digital marketing. No need to explain it more. But telling something about the future, I would say “The opportunities are very large in terms of what can be done. Digital marketing is only going to grow. Currently, it constitutes to around 10-20% of advertising in India and if you see US, digital marketing is now consider almost 50% of advertising. So, the opportunities & market growth is pretty phenomenal and digital marketing is gonna play bigger & bigger role in large schemes for years to come.”
Q7. So what are your future plans?
Ans. Currently, we are an online platform to raise fund. We are marketplace, where anybody can raise fund for project of their choice.
As we go long, we have plans to expand our services to other countries & we are planning to launch in Hong Kong, Malaysia to take our platform globally
Q8 .In this competitive market whom do you see as your major competitor?
Ans.Our major competitor includes Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Kickstarter. These are the major players in crowd-funding platform
Q9. Varun, if you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ans. I would say, Believe in Yourself and keep trying, keep dreaming. Just start and get going.
“It was nice talking to you. Thank you so much for your time and providing us valuable information.”
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