Donatekart: Sharing Smiles and Spreading Hope with the Needy

Anil Kumar Reddy , Co Founder & CEO, Donatekart

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has changed the perspective of people to a great extent. It has taught everyone to help others in need. In recent times, people are genuinely trying to help in the best possible way they can.

Understanding this best possible way was difficult for many donors. As everyone always assumed that the ones in need always needed food and shelter. But this was not the case. There was a huge requirement to understand what the actual need is when people are affected by flood, pandemic, or any other calamity. People are now working to identify and provide for these needs.

But there is a startup that identified these needs a long time back. It is Donatekart. The start-up was established by an extremely generous person Mr. Anil Kumar Reddy, Co-founder and CEO of Donatekart. He had an idea to fulfill the needs of people about which the donors never thought of.

In the following interview, Mr. Reddy will brief us about his journey to establish Donatekart and how he achieved success in his unique idea. Following are the highlights of the interview:

Kindly mention in detail about your start-up, its inception story.

Donatekart is India’s most trusted, transparent, and leading online crowdfunding platform. The platform allows people across the globe to donate funds for the products required by NGOs and charitable organizations in India, which are then delivered to the needy by the team of Donatekart. In addition, we at Donatekart also provide timely updates to the donors on how the donated products are being used.

Our aim is to democratize the model of online giving among the people.

Donatekart was born out of my personal experience as a relief volunteer during the devastating Chennai floods of 2015. I saw a demand and supply mismatch between the requirement of flood-affected people and the relief provided by donors, authorities, NGOs, and charitable organizations. People immediately required tarpaulins, bleaching powder, and mosquito nets to protect themselves from incessant rain, mosquitoes, and accumulated water, but they were getting several products like rice, milk, water, etc. So that day I thought, what if the donors knew the needs of people? And that is how Donatekart came into existence.

Brief us about the featured person and your journey towards starting your business.

I started volunteering in many NGOs while I was in college and realized that many of these NGOs are doing a great job on the ground but are unable to get required support.

As mentioned above, while I was working as a volunteer for a month with an NGO named Goonj that provided relief for the people during devastating 2015 Chennai floods. There I gathered that people were sending several products like rice, milk, water, etc., but not the things, which were of immediate need (tarpaulins, bleaching powder, mosquito nets). I wondered, what if the donors knew the people’s immediate needs. That’s when the idea of Donatekart was initiated and we started operating in October 2016.

What is the current scenario of the industry that you are catering to?

Donatekart has a unique business model of helping NGOs and charity organizations across sectors. In the current Covid-19 pandemic, Donatekart has played a crucial role in allowing people to contribute to this and other causes throughout the pandemic. Donatekart has raised over Rs.30 crore worth of hospital equipment from over 1.5 lakh donors in the most effective and transparent way. This includes oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, beds, oximeters, etc. The equipment has been distributed to hospitals and home quarantined patients, and grocery kits to those in need.

We are running several crowdfunding campaigns through our website –, including one for the educational and nutritional needs of Dalit and Adivasi children and women from Tarapur in Anand district of Gujarat, betterment of the coal miners and tribal communities in and around Dhanbad in Jharkhand, protecting abandoned, and rescued cows in Udupi district of Karnataka, and for over 200 rescued dogs in Bangalore.

A number of celebrities like Yuvraj Singh, Samantha Akkineni, Nora Fatehi have come forward to lend a helping hand to the society and started a fundraising through Donatekart due to our unique model of allowing people to donate towards the products required by the NGOs.

Is your start-up bootstrapped or are you looking for funding options?

We have raised a seed funding of Rs.2.5 crore two years back and are not looking to raise any money as of now. We are expanding into multiple product verticals and are actively hiring for the team.

How has the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic influenced your business operations?

One should not be happy with the Covid-19 pandemic, as it has affected many people and various businesses since March 2020. But, in our case, the pandemic has helped to increase our donor base and the amount of donation has increased substantially for various causes. We have received donations as low as Rs.10 to Rs.1,00,000 from donors, who are socially responsible and want to help people in actual products rather than giving money.

As a result, we were able to provide services to the organizations, which are working towards providing food to over 5,00,000 coal miners affected by closure of mines due to pandemic or people, who are helping acid attack survivors or a professor, whose aim is to provide best-in-class amenities by constructing a new hostel for over 75 blind girls.

In the last four years, we have partnered with over 1000 NGOs all over India and raised over Rs.100 crore worth of products. More than 5 lakh unique donors have used our platform to donate to charities of their choice.

As a start-up, what steps are you taking to acquire new customers or retain the existing ones in these challenging times of Covid-19?

We are a marketplace model, where we keep hosting new requirements on NGOs and users can come back to donate again and again. We build trust among donors by updating how their donations are getting utilized. Because of this, 60 per cent of monthly donations come from people, who have donated before.

What kind of products or services does your start-up offer?

We provide a crowdfunding platform that allows donors to directly donate towards products that are required by the NGOs, and we guarantee 100 per cent transparency for donors, by providing periodic updates on the utilization of resources from the campaigner.

What kind of challenges have you faced while incorporating your company?

As we were out of college and started the venture, my mother gave us Rs.1 lakh as an initial investment. We are fortunate to build a sustainable business model through which we are able to earn revenue to sustain.

Where do you envision yourself and your company to be in the long run and what are your future goals?

The unique crowdfunding model of Donatekart that allows socially responsible organizations to run any number of campaigns, without any fees. Through this technologically enabled platform, we aim to have a base of over 1 crore donors in the next five years and help raise resources worth over Rs.2500 crore from Donatekart’s crowdfunding platform.

We also have plans to host fundraisers for various social causes. An altogether new website that will help devotees do Devasewa across temples in India. And the most important of all, the launch of the Donatekart Gift card, whose aim is promoting the ‘joy of giving’ among family members and friends during festivals, events, or natural calamity.

Give your opinion on how to survive as a start-up in these pandemic times?

In my opinion, evolving with time is the only mantra to survive as a start-up during the pandemic. Evolution in terms of technology, thinking, and strategy will help any start-up to survive in such a situation. At Donatekart, we listen to the users, their needs, and keep evolving. We have to evolve consistently to cater to their demands.

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