Going to the United States for his undergraduate and graduate studies
Being introduced to the idea of crowdfunding
Initially focused on building a non-profit enterprise
Sourcing the first $15k for a kidney transplant and realizing the impact the system could have
The cultural element in giving
Modes of discovery for donors and how the message reaches them
Impacting the beneficiary and his or her family
The importance of health and financial literacy
Aiming to reach a million beneficiaries by 2030
Stumbling on the Idea and Never Looking Back
Support from Our Families Kept Us Going
It Sounds Dramatic, but That’s What Happened
Give Up Too Easily and Live a Life of Regret
Creating a Safety Net for the Community
Happiness Correlates to How Much Impact I Can Create
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:14
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to India GameChanger. Today we are joined by Piyush Jain, a co founder and CEO at ImpactGuru. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. How are you doing?
Piyush Jain 0:27
Thank you, Michael for inviting me. It’s a great privilege to be speaking on the show. I’m doing very well. Thank you so much.
Michael Waitze 0:34
It’s my pleasure. All the words in the background are just making me think I’m trying to come up with sentences for all the words that are behind you. But before we get into the main part of the conversation, can we get a little bit of your background for some context?
Piyush Jain 0:47
Yes, I grew up in India, between Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi. And then I went to the US for my undergrad education at Wharton. After studying finance and accounting. I spent four years as an investment banker at JP Morgan in New York, Hong Kong and London. After that, I pursued a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard. That’s where I got inspired by the success of crowdfunding in the US and decided to focus my career on scaling impact guru got it incubated there. But I did spend two years at BCG in Southeast Asia, refining my problem solving and consulting skill sets before moving to India about seven years ago. To start this company,
Michael Waitze 1:32
what was it like living in Philadelphia? My parents live in Philadelphia. I’m always curious, like Wharton is a great school. But Philly is a very interesting city, what’s your view?
Piyush Jain 1:42
Um, I think going there as an 18 year old, you always heard stories sometimes that in certain parts of the city, it could be unsafe. But to be perfectly honest, I had arguably the best years of my life in that city. Really fantastic. Campus. You know, I was living on campus. Still data has some of my best friends from that era. And I’m going back actually to Philly in about two weeks time for my 15 year college reunion. So amazing memories, great culture, great food, very cold, or definitely people in India, minus 25 minus 30 statuses is not something everybody can handle. But I enjoyed my time there.
Michael Waitze 2:30
Well, so you make a really good point. One of the questions I always ask my Thai friends who go to the University of Michigan and I choose that purposely is what do you do in the wintertime? Right when it starts snowing? And the question the answer I always get is, well, the first time it snows, it’s magical. But the second time, it’s just in the way, what do you think?
Piyush Jain 2:48
Yeah, I think I never understood what black ice was until I slipped slipped on it. Yes, and it was my first experience with snow generally. But on how to deal with the cold, you know, I’m a pretty determined person. And I thought the best way to get acclimatized to this kind of weather is to go for a morning jog, you know, 6am, without a lot of layers of winter clothing so that the rest of the day is fine. That did work. On some days were on some days, it was really, really difficult to get out of bed,
Michael Waitze 3:24
I could not agree with you more. I’ve run in Tokyo in in a singlet and in in shorts. So I get it. I like that idea of running in the cold, it makes me feel a lot more energized. It’s interesting to go from JPMorgan, and then go to public policy at Harvard. And I understand when you get to Harvard, and you start studying public policy, and there’s a big infrastructure there around the public policy learning. But why did you decide to do that, as opposed to getting an MBA just going directly? And then you’re going directly back into business? But it sounds like this was super personal. Was it an idea you had before you went to Harvard? Or was it something that God just stated when you were there?
Piyush Jain 4:05
So I grew up in India in the late 90s, you know, when the whole ITT Tech boom was going on? And as a teenager, I had learned how to code, very basic HTML, etc, on your computers designing on Microsoft front page. And those kinds of software’s, which are completely out today. Yeah. And I got a first hand experience of what running a tech startup means, although as a very early stage kind of entrepreneur in that era. And so it was clear to me that in the very long run, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and a tech entrepreneur and my education at Wharton and my experiences at JPMorgan clearly demonstrated a strong liking towards financial services and growing up, you know, I have shared the story a few times before that You know, I never realized how privileged I was until I went to an orphanage, and I met the children there. And I realized that actually having a home having parents being able to go to school is a privilege that so many others do not get on this planet. And that had a lasting impact for me. And so as I was thinking about what I wanted to do long term, I was always thinking, How do I combine my passion for technology, finance and impact together. And the combination of these three is what you know, eventually helped me to think about ideas like crowdfunding. And so before getting to the crowdfunding idea, I had also toyed with the idea of social impact bonds, which had started to become a new kind of social finance instrument, to again scale impact in a very meaningful way, particularly in both UK as well as in some emerging markets. And so I came across the concept of crowdfunding only when I was a student at Harvard University, when I published a paper at Harvard Business School on new ways to fund startups. And at the time, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, were doing very well as crowdfunding platforms, who had created a new way for entrepreneurs to sell innovative products and services to a very large part of the public online at a very, very quick pace.
Michael Waitze 6:22
Got it? But what made you come back to India then and choose the healthcare space? I mean, I get this idea of technology, finance and impact. I mean, I think about it a lot as well, right? I mean, I spent my entire career doing tech and finance. And I spend a lot of time now talking about impact. But there’s a big difference, right between social impact bonds. I’m presuming that there’s some lending facility there and some necessity to pay back crowdfunding is very different, though, right? Where there may be psi fees involved, and we can talk about that later. But at the end of the day, you don’t have to pay it back. Right.
Piyush Jain 6:55
Yeah. Right. So the journey of getting to health care was not straightforward. Impact guru did not start off as a healthcare crowdfunding platform, which started off as a nonprofit, crowdfunding platform, our initial view was that if we were to help digitize the fundraising operations of India, 3.3 million nonprofits, that would be a very significant and scalable opportunity. It was only after I moved back to India, when we started executing upon all of our academic research, and business plans. And I realized that I couldn’t be more wrong about it, in the context that Indian nonprofits were getting great CSR support, given the unique regulations in India around that, but still would take a lot more time to accelerate their digital fundraising transformation. And that’s when we experimented and opened up the platform and realized that the same technology, the same people, the same systems, could be utilized for health care. And we stumbled upon that accidentally. And you know, that we’ve never looked back since since the day when we raised almost $15,000 us for a patient in Hyderabad, who needed money for a kidney transplant. And so it would take us three months to raise that kind of money for a nonprofit. But to do that in a week, for a patient, it really opened our eyes. And we thought, could we do this again? And what was the reason this was success?
Michael Waitze 8:31
I’m always interested around telling the real stories behind startups. And one of the questions I like to ask because you hear all this idea of like pivoting and iteration and stuff like that. But there are humans inside of every company, right? And these are the stories that I like the best if your idea and you hire people to help you do it, whether you have a tech team of 50 people or five people, it doesn’t really matter. But you said you stumbled upon health care, but it still means that the people with whom you’re working now have to change their mindset as well. What is that? Like? Do you know what I mean? Where you’re like, Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do. It’s NGOs. It’s raising money for them. It’s a nonprofit, and then one day, it’s never just one day, right? You just switch. What does it like inside the and I’m putting in quotes office when you kind of get everyone together and say, Okay, now we’re going to do this thing instead?
Piyush Jain 9:21
Yeah, I mean, I think as I look back at our journey, in the first two years, I mean, it was constant struggle. Because you are attempting the same thing again, and again, you’re talking to 1000s of nonprofits, you know that it’s a very large, target addressable market, but the numbers simply do not demonstrate the kind of traction that you should be getting. And that’s when you scratch your head and you think deeply about whether this was the right decision to leave behind a great career at BCG and Singapore and JP Morgan in Southeast Asia and New York. But I think this is where great support word from your families, me and my spouse Khushboo, we co founded the company together, they always encouraged us that, never give up and keep trying. And, you know, in that entire process of even unlearning, like in the first two years, you unlearn so much about the kind of things you have picked up along the way in terms of education and work experience. And that’s when you finally get to a place where you want to think, through first principles, where you’re like, Okay, let me start from scratch. Let me experiment and see what happens if I try A, B, or C. And we were very lucky and fortunate that on one Facebook ad, one patient, you know, gave us their telephone number, and then one of our customer calling reps call that person and then this fundraising happens. It sounds too dramatic. But I mean, that’s exactly what actually happened.
Michael Waitze 10:53
Yeah, not really, the the reason why I like to have these conversations, right is because, you know, I always like to say everyone’s an overnight success. 10 years later, the stories that you see in the media are always about, we had this idea, we executed this idea, we’re now a billionaire, right, and the world just doesn’t work that way. And also, you know, if you struggled for two years, that meant that you had to continue to convince people, not just in your family, but the people that were working with you that like, you know what, this is the right idea now. And they kind of have to buy in, is there a sense of I don’t know the right word, but like wonderment, you know what I mean, when that one ad, and that one sale is cool, and that one client ends up with that one success? And then everyone looks around and says, I think we got something here. Do you know what I mean? Yeah.
Piyush Jain 11:39
Yeah, I mean, so that belief needs to be transmitted by founders, to all of their senior employees. And at the time, we had about 10 to 15 employees tops, very difficult as an early stage startup, to hire, and even to retain employees, sure, people are not even sure if you will be able to pay their salaries the next month. You they are. Absolutely, and they are right in in thinking about that at a very early stage. So I think what helped us during all of those days is the sense of self belief that we will get there, we need to be patient, we need to try, we need to experiment. But, you know, if you give up too easily, you have a life of regret. And we did not want to go down that path. And so we still have to date many of the employees in our company seven years out after that kind of experience. And that’s a testament of the kind of belief that many of those employees have in our vision, and our belief in them to help us get to those key moments which can help us leapfrog in terms of the next dimension towards really doing something meaningful and break.
Michael Waitze 12:59
Yeah, look, I walked into my daughter’s room one day, she’s 20 Now, but she was probably 14 at the time. And she had hung a poster on the wall that said in life, you only regret the things you didn’t do. And it kind of made me super happy because I felt like even as a 14 year old she had the right frame of mind.
Piyush Jain 13:18
Michael Waitze 13:21
It’s really it’s really great. Can you talk to me at scale like what the health care system looks like in India for people that may not know, right? I mean 1.3 billion people I know there are tons of states in India, many of the states have different languages, different sub cultures and stuff like that, what is the overall system like and then maybe talk about how technology at scale help so attack that.
Piyush Jain 13:49
So India’s total healthcare expenditure is about one $40 billion per year. And as if you contrast India to us, you know, where you have a well established social security system. In India, we do have a social security system equivalent. It’s called Irishman, Bharath, or the national health protection scheme, but it is currently only targeted towards 100 million families and five member per family. So 500 million of the poorest people in India get a health benefit of 7000 US dollars per year, if they are actually hospitalized in certain impanel hospitals. So we do have a great system for the poor people which was created by the Indian government and it has definitely created tremendous impact. However, given the sheer size of our population of 1.3 billion people. If we look at the remaining 800 million out of that, a staggering 500 million people have zero health insurance 00 and those who do typically their average is somewhere in the 5000 to $6,000 range. In India, the GDP per capita is $2,000. And the cost of critical illness for a cancer organ transplant, ICU and those kinds of expensive ailments could easily be north of $10,000. And, you know, at our peak, we’ve even crowdfunded $2 million for children are the world’s most expensive job. And so for the middle class and the lower middle class, health care for critical illnesses is unaffordable when you have zero Social Security. And you have very low amount of health insurance penetration. And as a consequence, $18 billion is the annual out of pocket expense in healthcare in India, just inside private hospitals. And that’s a very, very big gap that needs to be funded through a combination of crowdfunding insurance, lending and many other New Age FinTech services. So I would like to describe and summarize the entire situation as the following. India’s middle class is one hospital bill away from poverty. That’s the best way I can summarize India’s overall health care financing situation.
Michael Waitze 16:14
And how does tech help fix that? In other words, how does the scalability and the connectability of tech? I understand the crowdfunding part of it right, and maybe you can walk us through how that works. But I guess the follow on question is, can everything be crowd funded? And if not, what’s the other technology, finance and impact solution that you can build in the context of impact guru to close that gap?
Piyush Jain 16:40
So technology, of course, has a huge role to play in terms of making healthcare more affordable in India, which is a very big challenge for our country. If we talk about crowdfunding, you know, first of all, what is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is the practice of pulling money from a large number of people on the internet for a specific purpose in healthcare, crowdfunding means pulling this money for medical emergencies, it’s donations, therefore, this money does not need to be returned back to the donors. The reason why technology has a huge role to play in increasing affordability is to take advantage of some of the biggest assets of India, our large population, our huge Internet penetration, massive smartphone penetration and increasing digital payments, penetration, you know, if somebody requires 7000 US dollars for treatment, right? Getting 1000 people to contribute $7 is not a very difficult thing, given how well connected Indian society is. If not 1000, you could go to 100 people and get $70 Each from them. And you know, even when in our $2,000 GDP per capita kind of economy, people can afford to pay $70 or $20, to their friends and family, for medical emergencies. For one individual, to full this kind of money without a technology based crowdfunding platform is simply not possible. That’s why in our most successful campaign, Michael, we raised almost $2 million from 100,000. donors and technology is the only way you can connect people from 165 countries to contribute towards the single cause and get them real time updates on what is happening with the health of the patient, get them videos, photos, and you know, even detailed updates on when the injection was provided. So technology has a key role to play, not just in crowdfunding. But if you think beyond that, I mean, you have to solve this gap of healthcare financing through multiple other ways. Now, why is it that insurance penetration is so low in India? Of course, awareness is a very key problem in India, right? People simply do not realize that this is something they need to do, because it’s the right thing to create a financial safety net. And how do you educate people at huge scale? Again, you have to use technology to be able to do that, right, whether you’re a digital platform or not. And that’s going to be one of our key focus areas. That given that 2.2 million donors have gone through our platform and have helped somebody who is either uninsured or underinsured. It’s the right time for them to introspect about their own insurance, and figured out how to change that and calibrate that to create the biggest safety net for themselves.
Michael Waitze 19:39
So, in the old days, which is just a catch all phrase for anything that was more than 25 years ago, for me, it’s really more like 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. insurance as a concept meant that villages would get together and would in an analogue way set money aside for people inside their village. This is everywhere in the world, right? Not just in Asia, and just say if that person got sick, we’ll fix it with this money that we’ve put aside. And then insurance then became something that companies provided to people, at least in the United States. And in Western Europe, this is common. But is there a way to take technology and crowdfunding and move this into a way where not on a one by one basis raise money for individuals that need help to cover their healthcare costs, right for healthcare, finance, but to create some kind of continuous infrastructure where people continue to put in whether it’s for local, regional, national, global, however you want to look at it. So then that money if government’s only doing it for the 500 million poorest people, which is awesome, right, but to do it for the rest of the people that aren’t covered, and that don’t have a mechanism for getting their own insurance yet, we can talk about that, too. So that then that platform impact guru itself can then be built so people put money in not for a specific thing. But for everything. Does that make sense?
Piyush Jain 21:04
Yeah, I mean, it’s a great idea, Michael, but unfortunately, customer behavior does not actually suit that kind of platform. So that’s why it has not been done globally. If we take a deep look at the success of donation based crowdfunding platforms globally. Some of the largest funds in the world are GoFundMe in the US. Of course, they have a very significant international footprint and water drop, or shoe ad Chow in China. For both of these platforms, healthcare is the single largest category, where patients who are sick when they are appealing to their friends, family, and to the larger world at large, complete strangers, they get tremendous amount of support what happens when you try and move towards raising money for causes, which is what impact it was trying to do in the early phase, raising money for nonprofits, which were raising money for education cause animal welfare, or you know, women’s empowerment, skitching, etc. The personal, emotional connect that a donor has with a cause is very different with that of a specific individual where they know the photograph of that individual, which hospital they are admitted, and what is their exact condition. And that one to one relatability. And connectability, has actually been the key reason why crowdfunding platform has been able to have been able to scale globally, and why companies like GoFundMe have raised $15 billion since their inception, and the largest part of that is raising money for medical causes and personal causes. So while it’s a really incredible idea of philanthropy, one that, you know, people should be able to pull money for various causes, and keep that for a rainy day. Unfortunately, donor empathy, and donor customer behavior works very, very differently. Right, giving is a very emotional decision. Right, you will take a fraction of a second to decide whether you want to support an individual or not. But it’s a very complex decision, when you say give to this cause, as compared to give to use, you may know him directly, or through a friend, right? And that’s the fundamental reason individual crowdfunding is very successful, as compared to cause based out funding, particularly in emerging markets like China and India.
Michael Waitze 23:21
I understand and is there Do you sense based on the data that you gather, because I’m sure you’re gathering data every time somebody gives you see to whom they’re giving to what they’re giving? And what’s resonating with the donors? Is there fatigue that’s associated with individual givers? You know what I mean? In other words, I’ve already given to this I’ve given to that I’ve given to this I’m done kind of thing, or do you see the same people the same groups of people giving over and over again?
Piyush Jain 23:47
So there are different segments, within donors, in terms of the area? I mean, Michael, if I were to ask you a question, you have five friends from college, and each five of them has gone through a medical emergency during COVID? Would you be willing to pay $20 to each one of them, no matter which sequence they came in? Sure. I think the vast majority of people will say yes, right. But if I were to say, Michael, would you donate to five complete strangers, right, maybe you would do a first time maybe you would do it a second time. But maybe the third, fourth or fifth time, there could be some kind of fatigue. So the reason why crowdfunding is highly scalable, is because every patient has a very unique and distinct social network. And of course, if there are distinct patients who are eventually reaching the same Michael for fundraising appeal, very often people will contribute because they know those individuals, will the generosity go down towards complete strangers when the you are asking them again and again, the answer is yes. This is why we have launched a monthly subscription product. Give every month where we are enabling our donors wants their transaction towards the customer. And they realize that this is such an incredibly transparent way to transact. And to get impact reports. People wants to donate on a monthly basis, but they don’t have the time to go find 12 unique patients to help each and every month, right. So that’s where we have solved this problem for them and said, we are now creating pools of money. There is an impact group Cancer Fund and impact group, transplant fund and impact group rare disease fund, we always have 1000s of patients who are in short supply of capital, can you allow us to use your generous money to help those patients? And we will give you the detailed reports of which patient we help each and every month? Right? And
Michael Waitze 25:44
that’s, that’s the answer to the previous question, though, right is this subscription model, which sounds I mean, again, it solves the problem that I was talking about before, right? You can’t just ask a million people or a billion people to donate $1 and end up with a billion dollars. But what you can say is we can I’m guessing give you some kind of sort of empathetic benefit, right? You just know that we have this cancer fund gift to the Cancer Fund, give to the Kidney Fund, give to this and do it monthly, it’s not a lot of money. $10 a month, $3 a month, that doesn’t matter. But if there’s also an I don’t know how it works in India, but in the US, there’d be a tax benefit for giving that money. So it’s almost like pre it’s post tax money that you’re giving away. So there’s an incentive to do it there as well. Is that true in India, too.
Piyush Jain 26:27
Right. So there are tax benefits that are applicable for donors who donate money to nonprofits and impact guru has also partnered with various nonprofits in India to provide such tax benefits to its donors. I think you will be surprised that even in China, just two healthcare crowdfunding platforms together are raising $3 billion from 600 million unique donation transactions per year. It’s a staggering number. So while the monthly subscription model is highly scalable, and is definitely the need of the hour in India, to solve the donor problem, they wants to help patients every single month, but do not have the time to identify exactly, well, unique patients. On the flip side, the scalability of each patient, raising money from 100 to 200 distinct people is so much that, you know, you know, helping people is a more fundamental need, you know, as part of humanity as compared to even shopping for E commerce. And that’s why crowdfunding platforms have scaled, so much so because as long as somebody is paying digitally, you know, and which is a very staggering number of people who are using digital payments and UPI, etc. You will be able to convince eventually a large part of that public to transact and give to help others. And it’s part of Indian culture to be generous.
Michael Waitze 27:51
Right. So this is the other question I was gonna ask you. I mean, there’s a couple of things that I wanted to mention there. One is this idea that because there’s UPI, which means that there is a universal payments infrastructure in India, like you said that the internet penetration is high and mobile phone penetration is high, which means that for people to do it, it’s relatively frictionless, right? You’ve got big companies like phone pay of 400 500 million users, that’s just one example. But it’s ubiquitous in India. That’s the whole point of UPI, which means giving should be easy. But there’s also a cultural element to this as well. And not just in India, everybody approaches this sort of healthcare financing from a different angle. But at the end of the day, humans are empathetic beings. And if I think if we give them a way to do this, and here’s where technology comes in, because it gives you scale, right? In other words, if you walk into the main part of town, we go back to the village metaphor, and just say a patient needs money, because he found out he has cancer, or he broke his leg. People just be like, Oh, no, let’s give. But it’s the tech now on the mobile phone that gives that makes that village bigger, and allows people to participate in a way that couldn’t happen before. That’s the scale. I want to ask you this, though. You mentioned before 165 countries are their donations or contributions that you’re getting from outside of India as well.
Piyush Jain 29:09
Yes, absolutely. 30% of all of our contributions come from international donors, and the US being the second largest geography from where the donors actually contribute. So US, UK, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, where you have large parts of the Indian diaspora residing, they contribute significantly, to again, help back friends, family or complete strangers to give back to India.
Michael Waitze 29:35
What’s the discovery model like, right? Is it just Facebook ads? It has to be more than that? How do they find out and how do they get to decide for the ones that are actually deciding on their own like, this is the cause that I want to support? How do they find out and how do they decide?
Piyush Jain 29:49
So I would say that there are two key modes of discovery. The first mode is a WhatsApp message. And so the way that would work is if I’m the patient For example, and I would send a message to my own immediate circles, let’s say to my JP Morgan, BCG, Wharton and Harvard friends, those messages would then get further distributed to their connections, who will be second degree for me, my first degree will send to their first degree. So they are second degree to me. And that’s how the message gets further spread. And so that’s how a lot of people in India, particularly in South India, they have huge communities living in parts of the US parts of the Middle East. And these messages get viral very, very quickly, the amount of generosity that exists is very high for Indian people, no matter where they live in the world. Yeah, that’s one mode of discovery where somebody you know, is forwarding that message, and you will contribute, because it’s coming from a very referred source. That’s how it works. The second channel is, of course, impact gurus, organic and paid marketing, communication. You know, once we have established a relationship with our donors, we want to keep them updated and give them opportunities to create more impact. And that happens to our email, WhatsApp communication. And of course, for very time sensitive cases, we run Facebook, YouTube, Google advertisements to be able to fundraise in a short amount of time. So those are the two modes of discovery for donors. And so, of course, there is a certain segment of donors who decide Today’s my birthday, my anniversary, I’m feeling great, I’m just going to go to impact grow and contribute. But a lot of it is the whole of the powerful stories of patients struggling to fund medical emergencies. And that message somehow reaches the donor organically or through other means. It’s, it is a small percentage, who will come directly on impact guru who will say, let me try and find which patient I’m resonating with most, it’s typically one or two stories that come across on WhatsApp, social media, and they get really moved in the country. So are
Michael Waitze 31:58
you consciously creating content and telling actively telling stories about impact gurus successes, I think you said earlier, something about creating videos, knows me, I’m sure they’re not hour long documentaries, but they could be five minute videos about here’s a person who needed help. Here’s a group of people that helped them, here’s what happens after you help somebody out? Is there a part of Impact Theory that’s just constantly creating stories around the successes?
Piyush Jain 32:30
Absolutely. So the number one way we communicate the success is by updating our donors about what happened to the patient to whom they contributed money towards, that’s part of a standard operating process. So we’ve already had 20,000 Plus patients, and each one of the donors who have contributed towards that can see a maybe a message every three to four days, depending on the kind of hospitalization they have, or every two weeks about what is exactly the medical condition of that actual patient. Number two on social media, we create lots of success stories, where we, you know, on social media talk about, you know, what have 1000 donors or 5000 donors or 100,000 donors is contribution together, pooled. And what has impacted that money has actually created and we create video thank yous from our patients so that our donors are able to firsthand see the impact of their $20 $10 or even $50,000 contribution towards those patients. And so storytelling is the key, but also, the narrative on the impact that it created for the success stories is equally important. Yeah,
Michael Waitze 33:45
I mean, one of the things my grandfather said to me before he passed away, and you’ll see this relevance in a second was when you get married, you never marry an individual person, you marry an entire family. And it’s, I think it’s the same when you help somebody, if you help that individual. You’re not just helping them. And that’s part of the impact. And it’s not just the family, right? There’s a community impact as well. There’s also a global impact, regardless of what people think. But this idea that you’re just giving money to help pOH is wrong, right? It’s a misconception is that it’s the whole family there that benefits from the healthiness of that person. If you are building a platform, and you discussed earlier, this idea of financial literacy and just the understanding of insurance products and the penetration of products, is there a way and is there even a desire as you get bigger and bigger to help people obtain insurance as well and educate them about it? So is there a financial literacy and a financial inclusion angle to this as well?
Piyush Jain 34:50
Absolutely. In fact, if we talk about waterdrop in China, they are today in terms of their impact. They’ve been able to sell $3 billion worth of health insurance premiums. It’s a staggering number it is. And they achieved this in four years time. So much so that that scale of 3 billion is 50% of the scale of and financial and it it took an financial a decade to get, which demonstrates the important role a crowdfunding platform can play in educating donors, and the community at large about the importance of health insurance, and also the adequate level of health insurance, right. And we at impact guru are going to be playing a critical role. And both of those are two aspects of insurance. And we are going to be starting that very, very soon in our car. Because we feel that to be able to solve India’s healthcare financing problem, you have to take multiple approaches and integrate crowdfunding insurance, and even lending to be able to solve people’s gap and do it in a very impactful differentiated way. Right, so that people are able to really get the benefit of doing whatever they can to protect the downside against massive catastrophic medical explanation.
Michael Waitze 36:13
Yeah. And if if there’s a funnel that’s associated with this, and if the bottom of the funnel is people just, you know, having access to capital for medical problems or health care problems, is the top of the funnel just being healthier to begin with? Do you know what I mean? Is there is part of finance, not financial education, but as part of sort of the healthcare education that you’re providing in the literacy that you’re providing telling people just be more healthy as well? If they can? Right?
Piyush Jain 36:43
Yeah, I mean, not an easy problem, no, no overcome, I think there are some great companies focused on that. In India, today, we’re trying to get people to be healthy, whether it’s on nutrition, whether it’s on exercise, whether it’s on many other aspects of health and wellness, on Diagnostics, etc. So, of course, that’s not a core area of focus for our company got it. Given the kind of resources and the kind of mission we have today, I think our mission gets activated once somebody has a problem. But to prevent a serious financial catastrophe due to medical expenses, insurance, of course, would be a great solution, if it’s a small gap, learning would be a great solution. But if it’s a very large gap, and particularly if you have mortality, risk, crowdfunding would be the perfectly viable solution. So it’s going to be a combination of these three approaches, which we will take to the market to help our patients. And our aim is to help 1 million patients by 2030. It’s a very steep goal, and we have a long way to go. One more
Michael Waitze 37:47
thing before I let you go. When you look back at the experience that you had in the public policy school at Harvard, and when you think about the research that you did around helping NGOs raise money, and you fast forward to today, is there an inherent happiness in what you believe you’ll continue to be able to accomplish as you grow to impacting the lives of over a million people, particularly considering all the ups and downs you had at the beginning with this? Yeah.
Piyush Jain 38:18
Yeah, I think that has been the biggest learning, I think, in this journey. Happiness is not correlated with wealth creation. No, for me as an entrepreneur. For me, happiness is correlated to how much impact I can create. And I think, to be able to see, on a first hand basis, the kind of generosity that exists in the world, right, to be able to witness one donation per second on our platform. And the power of technology to create this kind of impact is really something incredible, right? No amount of like, if I were to have done any other kind of venture, it would not have given me this kind of happiness. And so the objective is to scale that 100x From where we are today. And we know that we have the right backing the right advisors, investors, the right employees, the right customers, hospital partners, who believe in this shared mission, that let’s solve India’s healthcare financing problem, because it really puts over 50 million people into poverty every single year in India. And this is a problem statement that collectively as a society, as a company, we can change it, right? And it means you change it today, not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now. And so, I am personally, always amazed by the kind of impact that the technology platform can create. And we feel genuinely that we are just scratching the surface. And you know, today the goal is 10 million, of course, we will take sorry, 1 million patients by 2030. We always want to take steeper targets but it’s a very big country. Even 1 million out of 1.3 billion is hard a lot.
Michael Waitze 39:55
Yeah, yeah. Okay, Piyush Jain a co founder and CEO of ImpactGuru, thank you so much for taking the time and doing this today. I really appreciate it.
Piyush Jain 40:04
Thank you so much, Michael once again for inviting me to the show. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.
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