Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Donatekart: Building the ecommerce of giving

Anil Kumar Reddy, Sandeep Sharma, Sarang Bobade are trying to solve one of the biggest problems of giving—bridging the gap between donation and what's actually required on the ground

Divya J Shekhar
Published: Feb 21, 2022 05:55:46 PM IST
Updated: Feb 21, 2022 11:34:15 PM IST

Donatekart: Building the ecommerce of giving(From left) Sandeep Sharma, Anil Kumar Reddy and Sarang Bobade’s Donatekart helps individuals donate supplies
Image: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan for Forbes India

Anil Kumar Reddy, 26
Sandeep Sharma, 26
Sarang Bobade, 26
Co-founders, Donatekart

While volunteering to help with relief work for the 2015 Chennai floods, Anil Kumar Reddy realised that while many people were willing to help those in need—either through money or in kind—many-a-times, the donations did not match requirements on the ground. That led to the idea of Donatekart, where “people are not really donating money in the traditional sense, but shopping for a non-profit as per the organisation’s on-ground requirements”, says Reddy, 26.

The engineering student at the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in Nagpur cast aside a campus job placement in a grocery-tech startup to launch Donatekart. The Hyderabad-based social enterprise also has Sandeep Sharma and Sarang Bobade, both 26, as co-founders. The business model involves helping individuals donate supplies, as needed by a charity, instead of donating money. This is done by helping these non-profits start crowd-sourcing campaigns and listing the specific products they need, like grocery kits, medical/health facilities or equipment, construction materials, stationery and digital devices for education.

Donatekart sources these products, delivers them directly to the NGOs, and provides reports on how the money is being utilised. Since these products are often procured in bulk, the enterprise receives an average 10-15 percent commission per purchase, which is its main source of revenue, apart from donors who choose to pay 6 percent of their donation value to the platform.

“So far, over one million donors have contributed Rs 150 crore worth donations to over 1,000 NGOs,” says Reddy. The top causes funded on the platform include medical emergencies, animal welfare, and hunger and malnutrition. “We are building tech for retail giving in India across categories and aim to reach 1 crore retail donors over the next five years.”

Donatekart: Building the ecommerce of giving

Donatekart, which was launched in August 2016, raised Rs 2.55 crore in seed funding from a group of investors led by LetsVenture in 2018. Reddy says the enterprise is “profitable on a monthly basis”, and posted a revenue of Rs 15 crore in FY21. Donations worth Rs 20-30 lakh are raised on the platform daily, with average donations of about Rs 1,500 on usual days and Rs 3,000 during health emergencies, such as the second Covid-19 wave. “About 50 percent of our donations come from repeat donors,” says Reddy. The targeted revenue for FY22 is Rs 40 crore.

“What struck me first about this venture is how these founders displayed a passion and commitment to make the process of giving easy. They have a good understanding of the problem statement,” says Shanti Mohan, founder, LetsVenture, adding that the co-founders seek solutions with “an intellectual honesty, continue to innovate, are flexible to feedback, and ambitious about what they are trying to build”.

(This story appears in the 11 February, 2022 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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