Ishita Anand – Raising funds bit by bit

If you ask any entrepreneur as to what is the biggest challenge to start a venture, one of the inevitable answers would be – raising finances. Many a good business idea fails to blossom, and well-meaning individuals and organisations falter because they are unable to raise funds for their projects. Ishita Anand, co-founder of BitGiving offers an innovative solution to the perennial problem of raising funds.

What is BitGiving?
Ishita explains, “BitGiving is a crowdfunding platform that we launched in December last year. The entire idea behind BitGiving is that all social causes, all NGOs, and all creative people who are looking to raise funds can come on our website, create a campaign and try and gather funds for their initiatives.” She adds, “In India, crowdfunding as an eco-system has not really started, while in the West it has taken off in a huge way. When we started BitGiving, our aim was to create a technically evolved platform which took crowdfunding to the next level. The idea was to provide the campaigners with a platform to create a compelling pitch and bring together people who want to back these campaigners.”

The proof of concept – ‘Jurrat’
BitGiving has been launched in partnership with Amnesty International. Ishita shares, “Our first campaign along with Amnesty International was ‘Jurrat’. This campaign marked one year of the Nirbhaya incident. It had a lot of artists who came together to go to various parts of the capital and talk about women and their rights. It was feisty campaign that we ran for them and we raised about a lakh in 5 days. The statistics were mind-boggling; we had some 950 shares and a lot of visits on our website. There were 95 contributors which made that one lakh happen. It was a campaign that went completely viral and it was a brilliant proof of concept for BitGiving.”

Leveraging Social Media
Ishita is convinced of the inherent power of social media. She opines, “Brands are being built on social media, political parties are being built on social media. Every consumer that we want to reach out to is going to open their Facebook early in the morning and they are going to talk about things that interest them. It’s very important to leverage that. It’s very important to reach out to people where they are everyday.” She adds, “We call ourselves a social crowdfunding platform because we are completely social media integrated. We create campaigns that inherently become viral. Whenever somebody contributes, registers or does anything on our platform, it’s very easy for them to share it on different social media networks.”

Ishita makes sure that the nuances of social media communication are imbibed by each campaigner. She says, “We tell our campaigners that when you are telling a story, you need to know how to leverage it on social media. For ‘Jurrat’ we put up a post with a statistic that ‘47% women believe that domestic violence is alright.’ We received 30 comments that were further shared multiple times. It wasn’t a direct post, saying ‘come contribute’ but it was something that struck a chord and made people come on the platform.”

“Social Media is about creating that intrigue…creating that language which you want people to associate with your brand,” quips Ishita.

Taking the leap
Ishita believes that the challenges and triumphs that a male or a female entrepreneur experiences are no different. She claims, “Men and women face the same hurdles, put in the same hard-work and receive the same recognition as entrepreneurs. The challenge is about taking that leap. If you want to make it big, you need to do something differently. Once you take that leap, it’s the same whether you are a man or woman.” She urges aspiring entrepreneurs, “You need to believe that when you have a passion for something, people are going to support you and you will get good ideas.”
Ishita’s positivity and passion for her innovative venture is palpable. The WEBO Power team wishes her the very best in all her endeavours.

Interviewed By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: January 31, 2014

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