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Mayukh Choudhury: Innovative Funding For Healthcare
Milaap Social Ventures is a crowdsourcing group that raises funds for healthcare emergencies
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When business is grim and the clamour for funds is severe, crowdsourcing becomes a life-saver for many. Mayukh Choudhury, co-founder and CEO of Milaap Social Ventures and his partner, who are making a difference to the lives of many in society, is BW Businessworld’s choice for the coveted list of 40 under 40. Milaap is a synonym for hope hope for the people of a country where over 50 million are driven to poverty levels by medical emergencies, where 70 per cent of those detected with cancer fail to survive, where 90 per cent of bone marrow transplants or liver transplants cannot be effected for lack of money.
Milaap Social Ventures has established crowdfunding as a means to battle life threatening emergencies, when all other options including insurance, savings and borrowings run dry. While fund raising is financial activity, crowdsourcing needs to ensure that donors empathise with the causes the funds are being raised for.
Milaap qualifies as a market leader in India in the crowdfunding industry. Its focus is on individual donations for greater causes. With a team of 106 people including himself and his partner, Choudhury has developed a group that focuses on fundraising for healthcare emergencies. The initiative has not only brought the group to where Milaap is today, but also created a business domain for crowdfunding for emergency healthcare.
With the fast emergence of technically advanced payment platforms, the crowdsourcing business has had its own set of challenges. “In the digital world, rapid change is the norm of the business,” says Choudhury. “At times, these are because of tectonic shifts and technology or can even be a changing business scenario looking at new audiences,” he goes on to say, adding, “For example, the drastic transformation of the digital payment space because of UPI, is an example of the former. The need to take Milaap to the mass audience, and in native languages, would fall under the latter. Therefore, keeping pace with such rapidly changing friends is the core of our business philosophy.”
The rising incidences of cybercrimes and frauds is another challenge the industry faces. Milaap has managed to keep its platform technologically advanced and has so been able to preserve the faith of its employees and stakeholders. In evolving Milaap Social Ventures in 2010, Choudhury was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, who is his entrepreneurial role model. Carnegie’s book, The Gospel of Wealth is among his all-time favourites.
While the economic slowdown has posed problems for most businesses, Milaap Social Ventures has managed to have an edge over it. “We are addressing a critical need in healthcare. Therefore, the trends of the business, are not directly linked to economic fluctuations. On top of it, razor sharp focus on customer experience and business fundamentals has helped us deal with economic headwinds.”
Milaap’s social and morally high aspirations have transformed the lives of many Indians. Says Choudhury, “With the generosity of over two million people across the world, Indians have raised over a $100 million on the Milaap platform for various causes. An overwhelming $55 million has been raised for medical emergencies alone.”
Milaap is not only the story of how people help each other in tough times but also a story of how India’s nascent medical infrastructure for high-end treatment is being established. “The fact that over 50 per cent of the country’s paediatric liver transplant and 40 per cent of paediatric BMT is being supported by Milaap speaks volumes about the impact Milaap has had,” asserts Choudhury.