Chet Jainn is the founder of Bangalore based startup called Crowdera. It is an online platform framework for team fundraising, donor syndication, and corporate giving in a single value chain.
Crowdera originally started like a philanthropic initiative to give back to the society. We wanted to provide a platform that helps people raise funds through crowdfunding (or online fundraising) without losing a sizeable portion to commissions or without any dipping into donor dollars, says Chet.
We got an opportunity to talk with Chet Jainn about his journey and see what he has to say. I am sure his interview with us will inspire you.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Crowdera is a technology company that offers an online platform framework for team fundraising, donor syndication, and corporate giving in a single value chain. The platform is designed specifically for nonprofit organizations and social innovators. Crowdera also runs the world’s first truly fee-free p2p fundraising or crowdfunding platform for personal and social causes, called gocrowdera.com.
Crowdera is designed to complement an organization’s existing fundraising and volunteering activities by offering a user-friendly platform to create visually-compelling and viral fundraising campaigns that raise awareness and funding activities for an organization’s charitable goals and missions.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Crowdera originally started like a philanthropic initiative to give back to the society. We wanted to provide a platform that helps people raise funds through crowdfunding (or online fundraising) without losing a sizeable portion to commissions or without any dipping into donor dollars.
This aim gave birth to the idea of Crowdera. We created Crowdera with one simple, yet powerful goal in mind: to be the world’s first truly free fundraising platform. By not charging a commission or a set-up fee for any of the necessary fundraising features and tools, Crowdera has removed the largest obstacles to scaling a successful charity fundraising solution.
Even today Crowdera remains a free crowdfunding platform. By never charging commissions on campaigns, we ensure that more donor dollars go towards actually solving the issues that matter. It does not even accept any voluntary tips from the donors – it’s a totally truly free fundraising platform.
After solving the high fundraising cost issue, Crowdera tackled the major problem of leakage of brand, trust and money in team fundraising space. Crowdera’s proprietary tech has ensured it’s customers amplify their fundraising goals while ensuring the brand and trust stands tall.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I have been an entrepreneur most of my life except for a few years of stints with fortune 500 companies, mostly from Silicon Valley, California. Besides my fintech entrepreneurial stint of last 5 years with small acquisitions and tiny exits, I had also donned diverse hats of being an angel investor, a m&a corp dev guy, a prod manager to a p&l head leading product engineering services giants. I have had my stints with the likes of eBay, PayPal, Cisco, Pearson, Nexx, Xerox.
However, my most exciting experiences were helping startup ecosystem via some personal and some organized initiatives. I ran a group of 2000+ entrepreneurs from silicon valley that helped many startups to kick start since 2009. Feels good when you receive that thank you note from someone who sold their company and remembers you as their first mentor.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
My second innings in entrepreneurship started in silicon valley. After running the company from menlo park for several years, we just moved our head quarters to singapore with a strong presence in India, while still focussing on the American and Indian market. We have a distributed team between silicon valley, singapore (global hq), nagpur (indian hq) and bangalore. I intend to stick to cities ending with pore or pur. 🙂
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Customer success and customer experience, I cannot handle an customer agony, when they just need a little training. I believe, it’s more important to spend on customer learning than your pr. A happy customer is your key to ARR (annual recurring revenue).. 🙂
For the rest of the business journey, I am at peace. I don’t believe in sprints in startup life, I would rather run a marathon. However, we certainly help our customers run their fundraising sprints.. 🙂
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We shaped our business model as such that we don’t see anyone as our competition. I believe we are all just building a great market for many more like us to come.
Having said that, we certainly take pride in the proprietary tech that we use for our select customers to build white labeled solutions. But I do have my favs that I like and sometimes compete with, for eg: classy, san diego based fundraising saas, crowdrise (now owned by gofundme) and ofcourse blackbaud for identifying and leading this market.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Again, I have a very simple answer. I think there is nothing called as work life balance. Your work is also your life and your life is also your work.. I mean, we all humans do things either as tasks or we just enjoy that action. For example: we can workout or do yoga or schedule time with family as a task on your calendar just like your work meetings, or you live in that moment and enjoy every bit of it. I am the latter. I travel with my family atleast 3-4 times a year, our trips could be an ashram or a beach or just some serene place. My son and I sneak out to watch all marvel and dc movies. But I am still able to clock in over 12 -14 hours each day at work.. So is that what you call work life balance. 😛
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Yes, we did. Initial couple years, I funded the company, just like you will feed and nurture your baby. It was primarily research and development in this space learning from our customers from US and India. We did a small round in early 2018 to test the waters and closed the raise in less than a week. Sorry can’t disclose those numbers in public domain.
We are now ready to scale and doing another decent sized round from Singapore. We are already subscribed with commitments of over 65%. We are now in our final round of meetings for closing the rest soon!
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Not sure if people still perceive me as the same menlo park dude, running too fast in life just like his mean machines, leaving world behind others. Yes, I was that person years ago, but with the time I spent growing up with Crowdera, I have evolved as a person with more empathy, & compassion for the life on this planet and not just humans.
And if they have this perception, maybe it’s because I don’t shout out loud about everything on social media.
My reality today is that of person living minimalist’s life who is more organized, has more time for his team and loved ones, travels light with just two pair of jeans, loves meeting strangers at backpacker hostels, etc., Yes, am still hustling, but now I also have peace. 🙂
—- if the question was for the company —
When you say you, I assume you are talking about the company or the industry. The major disconnect of people about our industry is that the platform drives money to fundraisers, and that can never be the reality. We invest in educating the audience that fundraising is an art and our technology can help them use that art like a simple process. But fundraisers have to drive their own campaigns, others can only act as catalyst, if the fundraisers are performing.
What gets you excited about this company?
Everything! The Infinite Possibilities of Impact we can make on the life on this planet. And of course the infinite possibilities of company’s upwards journey
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My typical day starts exactly as it used to be when I was a kid. Though I wake up with the sun, I still like to take my sweet time to accept that I am awake.. But, interestingly, I don’t check my phone, or social media or even calendar on my phone when I wake up. Post my quick meditation after my morning routine, I scan my mac for my schedule, any escalations, task assigned by my team to me or any customer emergency. Then a peaceful plant based breakfast followed by commute (depending on which city or country I am in that day – I travel a lot. Like right now I am in Singapore responding to past mid night)
Each day is different, as I still wear many hats But when this day starts it doesn’t at all. I don’t have more than 4 meetings (in-person/video) a day, my vocal chord needs break as well. 🙂 I generally work past midnight with many breathing breaks, jumping jack breaks and hydration breaks… When at home, post dinner I am a family man unless there is some important strategic work or client issue. Everything else can wait for the next day. 🙂 I check emails and whatsapp only twice a day, but I don’t miss a single phone call.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I have many lovely stories that can not be expressed while just writing digitally, rather I would share in person sometime.
Most of the team members were never interviewed, surprising, right? Most of the people either joined in as interns, or were professional connects who became aligned with vision and the natural course of action was to get them in the company. The current pedigree of team are from eBay, Dorado, Pega, Ness, Ola, Stanford, Columbia, and more.
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