Going beyond social media as a platform to raise money for start-ups, Mumbai-based crowd-funding entity Catapooolt is going places, on a cruise actually.
Eager to get respectable contributions from the hoards of IT professionals, who have turned millionaires thanks to generous stock options and handsome salaries, Catapooolt is going for a series of offline events for the first time, in association with industry body Nasscomto get projects crowdfunded.
The first event will take place today in Kolkata, where a handful of start-ups would present their pitch to a crowd of about 100 invited to a cruise on river Ganga. Catapooolt has planned similar events for Delhi on November 21, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kochi as part of Nasscom's 10,000 start-ups project.
"For Delhi, we have selected Social, which is a cafe doubling up as an alternative workplace, while in Mumbai, we plan to go for a cruise again on a vessel, depending upon the availability," Satish Kataria, managing director of Catapooolt told dna.
The idea is to bring in serious money from wealthy professionals, many of whom might prefer putting a few lakhs in a crowd-funded venture that is out to bring in some positive change to the society rather than splurging on an expensive watch or an eye wear, explained Kataria.
Crowdfunding within the country, after all, hasn't seen any serious activity till now with the pitching process mostly being restricted to reaching out to Facebook friends.
Operational since 2013, Catapooolt has so far been able to raise just about a crore of rupees from about 6,000 people for as many as 40 start-ups.
There are only a few exclusive crowd-funding entities in the country – Ketto, which mostly funds social projects, and Wishberry, where creative ideas get support apart from other smaller entities.
The big push would now come from the innovative pitching platforms that are being planned, feels Kataria.
The invite for the Kolkata session comes with an entry-fee, a part of which could be redeemed to fund a project, said Mustafa Dawood, its chief marketing officer.
Crow-funding is yet to take off in India. It may continue to remain bit-sized for some time to come, mainly due to regulatory hurdles.
According to present norms, such type of funding can't come as equity investments.
Market regulator securities and exchange board of India had issued a discussion paper on crowdfunding in June last year. Since then, nothing much has happened, severely restricting attractiveness of crowdfunding as a serious investment opportunity.
"Till such time comes when regulations are clear, crowdfunding would remain a sort of philanthropic initiative where returns to funders are in the form of acknowledgement in the end-credits in case of a funded movie or the thrill of being among the chosen few who get to use first the devise from CarIQ, a connected car platform, as a reward for funding the project," said Robin Gupta, associate director.