Despite a running Bollywood career and a large fan following, actor Kunal Kapoor couldn’t resist the entrepreneurial urge. Though Kapoor’s plunge into the startup scene wasn’t a planned move, his family’s background in business helped him understand the nuances of running a venture.
“I was inclined towards business because I come from a business family. Before I became an actor I worked in the stock market for a year and a half. There was keen interest in business obviously,” said Kapoor at SURGE, a two-day technology and startup conference in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Kapoor along with Varun Sheth started Ketto in 2012, an online crowdfunding platform to help non-profits organisations and personal causes to raise funds. So far it has run over 10,000 campaigns and raised over Rs 20 crore.
“I was working in the social space with the number of NGOs. I found out that the NGOs were facing a lot of challenges primarily in terms of raising money. They were facing challenges to reach out to donors again and again. I also felt that the social space in our country was very serious which kept a lot of young people away from it. People wanted to get involved, but felt it wasn’t for them,” said Kapoor.
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While speaking at the conference, the actor pointed out that the best way to address the social space is by leveraging technology. “We wanted to build a bridge between people who can help and people that need helping. And that’s where the seed of Ketto was born.” Kapoor added.
Bollywood actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra , Anushka Sharma, Abhishek Bachchan , Hrithik Roshan and others have come on the crowdfunding platform and started fund raisers and also contribute to fund raising.
Kapoor believes that for an actor talking about a startup to investors and people is like a ‘double edge sword.’ “Maybe people think that actors are not very smart. They feel that an actor’s involvement in a venture will be very shallow. They don’t expect an actor to be deeply involved. So, it takes a little while to take you seriously. But, there are also lot of advantages such as, it gives a lot of mileage in terms of marketing the venture. There is a lot of attention because you are an actor.”