We thrive on vibrant ideas & encourage flat culture: Varun Sheth, Ketto.org
The crowdfunding market has been growing rapidly. Triggered by the pandemic, the community culture became a norm and people came closer to help each other in times of crisis. it made people more generous compassionate, and empathetic towards other people's pain. It was an overwhelming sight to witness people who went beyond their comfort zone to help others.
In an interview with Varun Sheth, co-founder and CEO, Ketto.org we explore the factors responsible for the exponential growth of the company during the pandemic, plans for expansion in the pipeline and how talent needs are influencing the organisation's business priorities.
At a time when most of the companies were struggling, how were you able to drive 4X growth during the pandemic? According to you, what are the factors responsible for this growth?
Ketto fuels a wide variety of sustainable causes, right from fundraising for zero hunger, education, cleanliness, and sanitation, and women and children development to fundraising for affordable medical treatment.
Ketto is short for ‘Key to Tomorrow’, co-founded by Zaheer Adenwala, Actor Kunal Kapoor and I, with an aim to bridge the affordability gap the platform has since become a carrier of change for many.
Ketto hosted over 12,500 COVID fundraisers and raised over INR 300 crore during the pandemic helping and supporting more than 20 million people in various capacities. Ketto's team has worked round the clock to support the campaigners and the cause. We have also doubled our team size to enable uninterrupted customer support.
I believe that the unfortunate event of the pandemic brought the community together, it made people more generous compassionate, and empathetic towards other people's pain. It was an overwhelming sight to witness people who went beyond their comfort zone to help others.
What are the key macro disruptions shaping your business priorities? How are these shifting business priorities influencing your talent needs?
With the global crowdfunding market estimated to reach USD 28.8 billion by 2025, and Asia being the key growth driver, there is a huge potential for crowdfunding in India. With increasing internet penetration and the rise of online payments, the crowdfunding market is witnessing major growth in the country.
Today, we see that there is an increased awareness around crowdfunding, compared to what it was a decade ago.
Earlier it was difficult to garner people’s trust in online medical crowdfunding campaigns. However, with constant awareness campaigns, successful patient stories, and total transparency in funding – we have managed to build a trusted brand image over the years. We have also seen a lot of people coming forward and donating via the platform to raise funds and help society at large.
Additionally, over 80 percent of the Indian population is without any form of health insurance and 63 percent of all medical emergency costs are out-of-pocket expenses, most families exhaust their entire savings and borrow money at high-interest rates to finance their medical costs. Lack of health insurance and high out-of-pocket expenses are the primary reason family facing medical emergencies fall into the trap of debt. Today, medical crowdfunding has emerged as an alternative financing option for families who are not able to afford and access quality healthcare.
Ketto has hosted over 2 lakh medical fundraisers and raised over INR 1200 crore. We have collaborated with over 280 chains of hospitals, and we have hired medical social workers and on-ground teams that host medical crowdfunding awareness programs in the hospitals.
Post-pandemic, millennials have become much more selective of the jobs that they are taking up. In recent research, it was revealed that they would rather prefer unemployment to work at jobs that make them unhappy. In such an evolving environment, how is Ketto able to have over 80 percent of its workforce comprising millennials? What are some of the innovative policies that HR has introduced for the millennial workforce?
By 2025, India is expected to have the largest millennial workforce with millennials accounting for 75% of the total workforce. While this will result in direct economic growth, it will also come with its own set of changes.
Millennials have different sets of demands and expectations from their employment. Their can-do attitude along with their strong desire to learn, innovate, and do things differently is bound to bring a positive force of change to the work culture. Another unique characteristic of millennials is that they are primed to do well by doing good and bringing change to society.
We are proud to share that over 80 percent of Ketto employees are millennials. We thrive on vibrant ideas, we encourage flat culture, a hybrid work model. We understand millennials want to experience the digital nomad lifestyle, hence we allow our employees to work from anywhere which enables them a perfect work-life balance.
We have flexible work hours, adaptive work culture, and we offer learning and development programs, additionally, each employee at Ketto shares the common thought of doing social good for the communities.
In a period of great resignation and war for talent where organisations are struggling to hold onto young talent, how is Ketto able to retain its millennial employees?
At Ketto we embrace the company’s core values and qualities such as empathy, building trust, and encouraging transparency.
We believe that the millennial workforce is driven by purpose, they are vocal about their choices, they are the problem-solvers, they are go-getters, they have the desire to learn, grow and contribute to the company’s success story, and they have a sense of belongingness.
As an employer we embrace such qualities by listening to them and their ideas, we offer learning and development programs, and we support flat culture so it is easy for anyone to reach out to the leadership team and share their concerns/ideas.
At Ketto we believe in teamwork and we enable a progressive and supportive work culture so that each employee is the part of company’s growth story.
With flexibility becoming a key aspect of today’s work culture, how are leaders at Ketto trying to accommodate the ever-evolving schedules of its employees, while building a successful organisation?
The hybrid work culture has proven to be rewarding for both the employer and employees in many ways. We adopted the hybrid model quite swiftly, initially, we had some setbacks however we manage to overcome those challenges by practicing a regular check-in program.
Check-in/catch-up calls allow us to connect with our team to discuss milestones and understand their concerns/gaps. This enables us to understand our team member challenges and give us an opportunity to bridge those gaps effectively.
As we move towards a hybrid model of work, do you have plans for expansion to other cities? If yes, how do you plan to execute them?
Ketto has registered 4x growth in business during the pandemic. We have cemented our presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata. We see great potential in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, however, there is a need to spread awareness about the concept of crowdfunding for causes related to medical, social, and education. We intend to expand our teams in these cities.
We are planning to add over 200 new employees by the end of 2022 in multiple departments such as technology, product managers, support executives, business development, medical social workers, and social media personnel. We will be extending our teams in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Kochi, Thrissur, Mysore, Vellore, Mangalore, Raipur, Ahmedabad and Vadodara.